JEDDAH – Spanish football crosses new horizons when its re-booted Super Cup competition begins on Wednesday in Saudi Arabia, a move that will significantly boost the national federation's coffers but has angered human rights groups and local supporters.
Real Madrid and Valencia meet in the first semi-final in Jeddah on Wednesday before Barcelona take on Atletico Madrid 24 hours later for a place in Sunday's final.
The Super Cup was a two-legged tie between the league champions and Copa del Rey holders but federation chief Luis Rubiales oversaw a dramatic shake-up last November, striking a three-year deal to play the tournament in Saudi Arabia.
The federation has not confirmed financial details but Spanish media reports say the deal is worth around 40 million euros annually.
The Spanish Super Cup is the latest high-profile sporting event to be held in Saudi Arabia, which recently hosted the Anthony Joshua-Andy Ruiz Jr heavyweight boxing bout as well as the Italian Super Cup and a Brazil-Argentina friendly.