The Spanish Football Federation has confirmed that the national team will play a friendly on 6 February in Qatar, against Uruguay. The tie is a lucrative one for the World Champions with the oil rich state paying them three million euros for the two day trip.
The Federation had to overcome various obstacles to finalise the organisation of the match, one being the negotiations with the Association of Spanish Footballers over the division of the money. Part of the sums received is due to be paid to the players' union.
However the main problem came from FIFA. As part of a football package Qatar will play a friendly against Malaysia in the same stadium directly before the Spain- Uruguay match, but FIFA regulations forbids friendlies from being played in a country whose national team also plays that day in that country. In the end however the sports ruling body has decided to allow the game to take, after the Qatari football federation asked for special permission from FIFA, which was granted this week. Qatar will host the World Cup in 2022.
The two games will be played back to back, with the Qatar - Malaysia clash at 7pm, followed by the Spain - Uruguay game at 9 pm. The game will be important for Spain, being the only match before the decisive World Cup qualifying games in March, against Finland and France. After drawing with the 1998 World Cup winners in the Calderón, Spain are obliged to win in Paris if they want to guarantee first place in the group and go directly to Brazil to defend their title.