The 2014 International Champions Cup(or ICC) was a friendly association football tournament played in the United States and Canada. It has been reported that the 2015 International Champions Cup will be expanding to Asia next summer with reports confirmed that talks are under away to have some of the games hosted in Australia in July, 2015 (as well as the United States).
The news comes after the Premier of Victoria confirmed that the Victorian State Government is currently in the process of securing three pre-season fixtures to be played between the world’s elite at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) with a capacity of over 100,000 spectators. More than 100,000 fans turned up to watch Manchester United beat defending champions Real Madrid at Michigan Stadium in the US just a few weeks ago.
The government is specifically targeting clubs the likes of European Champions Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea to take part in the tournament which is likely to be held at the MCG as it is believed demand for tickets would exceed the 54,000-seat capacity of Docklands Stadium. Victorian Premier Dr Napthine stated, “We saw in 2013, 95,000 people attend a match at the MCG when Liverpool played, that delivered over $30 million worth of direct benefits to our local economy and local jobs.”
The matches will most likely take place on July 25, 29 and 31 at the MCG, with the demand for tickets expected to bring millions of Australian dollars to the state economy. This has not gone down with AFL boss Gillon McLachlan though, who is bemoaning the loss of Friday and Saturday night fixtures in the middle of the season.
The Melbourne Cricket Club has written to AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan, saying “the club expects the AFL to comply with clause 3.6a and not schedule matches at the MCG for the requested dates”. The AFL protested the loss of prime time matches in a reply to the MCC.