Athletic Club Hope To Play Friendlies In China And Japan In May
Aitor Elizegi wants to make Athletic a global brand. He shared this vision during the Presidential campaign, during which he explained the goal of generating more revenue for the club on an international level. The new President believes that a club the size of Athletic could, and should, be more recognizable across the planet and wants to take the necessary steps to make that happen.
In an attempt to grow the Athletic brand internationally, the club is looking to play friendlies in other continents. A recent report revealed that Athletic have been offered the chance to participate in the summer’s La Liga World Challenge which would likely see the Lions playing matches in North America. A decision has yet to be made but there are now other options as well.
According to a report from DEIA, Athletic are working on a plan to play friendly matches in Japan and China in May. The La Liga season will end on 19 May which gives the club the remainder of the month to potentially compete in friendlies and the Basques want to take advantage of the time. The Athletic Board of Directors are aware that it will be difficult to make the trip happen, but they are doing everything possible to make it a reality.
One thing that could negatively affect the trip is the fact that the Basque National Team will also be playing a friendly on 29 May in Panama. Manager Javier Clemente is sure to call up several Athletic players, though Gaizka Garitano should still have plenty of players available to field a competitive team if the Zurigorri do travel to Asia.
The last time Athletic traveled outside of Europe was in the summer of 2015 when they visited Boise, Idaho in the United States. There is a large Basque population in the American city and the Lions defeated Tijuana 2-0 in the friendly. Elizegi has repeatedly shared his desire for the club to visit other Basque populations in the United States and South America. Athletic are also seeing a growth in support from Asia which has fueled the club’s desire to play friendlies in Japan and China. The President hopes to build Athletic’s identity and visibility around the globe which would also lead to largely increased revenue.