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Report: FC Barcelona cools pursuit to launch NWSL team

Will that impact efforts to bring team to California?

FC Barcelona v Club Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: First Leg Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

We’re going on two years of European superpower FC Barcelona publicly whispering in every ear they can find to relay the news they want to launch an NWSL team, but the latest twist in the saga is that the pursuit may be dead, at least for now.

Sports Business Daily reported on Wednesday that FC Barcelona have confirmed that “progress has stalled” in Barcelona starting an NWSL team.

“We cannot find the room for an agreement,” Xavier O’Callaghan, FC Barcelona’s managing director of the Americas, said. “The way that U.S. sports works is so different than what we are doing in Barcelona...”

Word first emerged in 2017 that FC Barcelona would be launching an NWSL team. While initially reports left the destination of the team up in the air, over time more and more reports — credible and not — have targeted California as the destination, including credible reports that Barcelona could team up with Los Angeles Football Club to make an NWSL team, as Angels on Parade and other sources understand the MLS club is also interested in launching a team.

But in December the most recent updates came until today’s newest dispatch, and the previous round of reports had slightly differing emphases, with one side reporting that NWSL had already quashed FC Barcelona’s efforts to get into the league, while another reported that Barcelona was still keen, but they were running into roadblocks with their desire to make the club fully in their image as far as branding.

Right now, the prevailing winds are that NWSL is preparing to expand for the 2020 season and that Los Angeles is a prime candidate to enter the league. But reports and a feeling aren’t the same thing as it being official, and we will have to wait and see if a team in Los Angeles, or the entire state of California, is truly on the horizon, Barcelona or no Barcelona.

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