Wednesday 25 April 2018

Van Gaal wins battle of wills over United's summer schedule

Roma's forward Gervinho
Roma's forward Gervinho

Mark Ogden

Organisers of Manchester United's summer tour game against San Jose Earthquakes are set to refund over 60,000 supporters after Louis van Gaal won his battle to change the venue of next month's pre-season friendly amid concerns over the journey time to the clash in California.

United are due to face the MLS outfit on July 21 in the second fixture of the club's four-game tour of the United States.

Promoters Relevent Sports have agreed to United's request to move the game from the 62,000-capacity Kabam Field at the University of California in Berkeley to the Earthquakes' 18,000-capacity Avaya Stadium in San Jose to cut down on the travelling time endured by Van Gaal and his squad.

United will base themselves in San Jose, 40 miles south of San Francisco, for a week during which they will play the Earthquakes and European champions Barcelona at Levi's Stadium, the home of San Francisco 49ers.

United would have faced a 90-mile round trip, with the outward journey taking as long as two hours, in order to play the game in Berkeley.

Van Gaal criticised the travelling distance experienced by his squad while touring the States last summer, and the United manager has insisted on the switch of venue for the fixture. The move will see more than 44,000 fans who had bought tickets for Kabam Field miss out on the game.

Van Gaal, who returns to his desk at United tomorrow, has also claimed victory in his effort to reduce the commercial demands on his players on tour.

United had more than 100 members of staff on tour with them last summer but, with Nike's kit deal due to expire on July 31, the commercial team assigned to the sportswear giant will be left behind in Manchester to prepare for the launch of the £750m adidas kit deal on August 1. As a result, Van Gaal and his players will be expected to fulfil fewer commercial obligations in the States.

Elsewhere, the transfer of Gervinho from Roma to Al-Jazira has fallen through because of the Ivory Coast striker's excessive demands. Requests by Gervinho for a helicopter and a private beach as part of the deal that would take him from Roma to Al-Jazira were described as 'obscene' by the Emirati club, who promptly withdrew the offer of a four-year deal worth €13m.

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

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