Singapore will host International Champions Cup (ICC) for four years, starting July 2017, in which European giants Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan will play at the National Stadium. The Lion City has thus become only the third Asian country after Australia and China to host the high-profile pre-season tournament.
Also, this will be National Stadium's first big-ticket football tournament after the Barclays Asia Trophy, which had Arsenal, Stoke City and Everton, in 2015. While a lot was said about the possibility of top-flight European clubs coming to Singapore this year, the news was confirmed by tournament organisers Relevent Sports and Catalyst Media Group (CMG) at a press conference on Thursday.
Chelsea and Bayern will kick-start the Singapore leg on 25 July at the 55,000-seater stadium after which two more games involving the three teams in round-robin format will be played on the 27th and the 29th.
CMG president Patrick Murphy is elated that Singapore is the only destination in Southeast Asia for ICC for the next four years and he expects other top clubs from European League to grace the country in future.
"Clubs like to play one year in North America and the next year in Asia, so over the course of the four years, I think fans can expect to see a very good selection of top clubs. The fact that it will only take place in Singapore and over a span of four years will give us a chance to reach out to regional fans of the various clubs, and (other) football fans to make it viable for them to come here and see some of the best football action," Murphy said, as quoted by Today.
Top football clubs from big leagues, including La Liga, Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A and France Ligue 1 have been part of ICC, which kicked of in 2013. Big names including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City were part of the 2016 competition, which was played across four venues - Australia, China, United States and Europe.
Minister for Trade and Tourism S Iswaran, in a Facebook post yesterday, lauded the move to bring ICC to the Lion City and said that the tournament will boost international tourism in the country. .
"Happy that Singapore will be the exclusive Southeast Asian host of the International Champions Cup (ICC) tournament – a popular football tournament watched by millions of fans worldwide. The ICC tournament will augment Singapore's current suite of sporting and lifestyle events, and enhance our global branding as an attractive lifestyle and tourism destination," Iswaran said.