International Champions Cup

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International Champions Cup
Founded2013 (2013)
Abolished2020
Number of teams8–18 (different years)
Last championsPortugal Benfica (2019; 1st title)
Most successful club(s)Spain Real Madrid (3 titles)
Websiteinternationalchampionscup.com

The International Champions Cup (ICC) was an annual club association football (soccer) official competition staged from 2013 to 2019. COVID-19 resulted in the 2020 edition being cancelled. The tournament was later abolished, but the Women's International Champions Cup has continued to play in 2021 and 2022.[1]

Format[edit]

The format has changed in each competition. Subsequent tournaments have had different numbers of teams in the three locations.

In the 2013 iteration, the participants were designated as part an "Eastern" and a "Western" group based on the location of their group stage matches. The groups were not played as a round-robin; rather, the winners of the first-round matches played each other in the second round, and the first-round losers also played each other in the second round. The two teams with two wins from the first two matches advanced to the final. The other three teams of each group were then ranked based on their records in the two matches played, with a game won in regulation time counting for two points and a game won on a deciding penalty shootout (no tied games were permitted) counting for one, with traditional methods of ranking – goal difference, goals scored, etc – determining order in case of two teams having the same points total. After the teams in each group had been ranked, they were paired against their opposite number from the other group, second playing second, third playing third, fourth playing fourth, with the results of these final matches determining a definitive placing for each team, from first place to eighth.

In the 2014 season, this slightly awkward system was done away with, the teams separating into non-geographical groups and playing a round-robin format with one game played against each other team in their group. After each team has played three games, the top-placed team from each group contested a final to determine the overall winner.[2]

Starting with the 2015 season, the tournament was separated into three geographic editions with a winner crowned for each region based on points total. The 2015 and 2016 tournament held editions in North America and Europe, Australia, and China. The Australia and China tournaments were contested as three-team round-robin competitions (Real Madrid participated in both), and the North America and Europe edition featured ten teams (including three US-based MLS teams) which played four matches each. The 2016 season retained the same format and regions, with Melbourne Victory of the A-League joining as the fourth team in the Australia region. In the 2017 iteration, Singapore replaced Australia as one of the three regions.

In 2018, all 18 participating teams contested the tournament as part of a single table, with each team playing three matches and the champion crowned based on points total. Matches were held across 15 venues in the United States, 7 in Europe, and 1 in Singapore.

For the 2019 edition, 12 teams participated in the tournament. Guadalajara took place in this tournament, being the only non-European team participating. Games were played across 17 cities in the United States, Europe, Singapore and China.[3]

History[edit]

The ICC is owned and operated by Relevent Sports Group, founded by RSE ventures based out of northern New Jersey, a sports venture firm founded in 2012 by billionaire real estate magnate and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and Matt Higgins, a former executive with the New York Jets[4][5] and international soccer executive Charlie Stillitano.[6] It replaced the World Football Challenge, which had featured a more even distribution of European- and American-based sides.[7] Daniel Sillman is the chief executive officer of Relevent Sports Group and during his tenure, Relevent Sports Group launched the Women's International Champions Cup Tournament and International Champions Cup Futures Tournament.[8]

During the 2014 tournament, a match between Manchester United and Real Madrid at Michigan Stadium set the all-time record for attendance at a soccer game in the United States with 109,318 spectators.[9] In 2017, Real Madrid and Barcelona played in the second El Clásico held outside of Spain.[10]

In 2018, the ICC Futures tournament began with 24 teams including 8 academies from Europe, 8 MLS Academies, and 8 US based state all-star teams. Bayern Munich topped Chelsea to win the first ICC Futures trophy.[11][12]

The Women's International Champions Cup was established in 2018.

2020 cancellation and future[edit]

Shutdowns and restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancelation of the 2020 edition,[13] and the tournament has not returned. An open letter from the organization's CEO had stated that the men's tournament planned to return in 2022 in the United States and Asia.[14] The 2022 men's edition did not materise. However, a women's edition was held in Portland, Oregon in 2022.[15]

Sponsors[edit]

The trophy was created by silversmiths Thomas Lyte in partnership with EPICO Studios.[16]

For the first two years (2013–2014), Guinness signed on to be the title sponsor for the entire tournament which, at that time, was only in North America.

For the 2015 competition, there was no overall sponsor, rather there was a unique Presenting Sponsor for each regional tournament. The North American tournament was presented by Guinness, whereas the Australian tournament was presented by Audi. Heineken became the presenting sponsor of the tournament from 2016 onward.[17] UnionPay became the sponsor of the tournament for the Singapore leg since 2018.[18]

Results by year[edit]

Regional editions (2013–2017)[edit]

Edition Teams North America and Europe[N. 1] Australia China Singapore
Winner Runner-up Winner Runner-up Winner Runner-up Winner Runner-up
2013 8 Spain Real Madrid England Chelsea not held not held not held
2014 8 England Manchester United England Liverpool
2015 15 France Paris Saint-Germain United States New York Red Bulls Spain Real Madrid Italy Roma Spain Real Madrid Italy Milan
2016 17 France Paris Saint-Germain England Liverpool Italy Juventus Spain Atlético Madrid uncrowned – match canceled[19]
2017 15 Spain Barcelona England Manchester City not held uncrowned[N. 2] Italy Inter Milan Germany Bayern Munich

Worldwide (2018–2020)[edit]

Edition Teams Winner Runner-up
2018 18 England Tottenham Hotspur Germany Borussia Dortmund
2019 12 Portugal Benfica Spain Atlético Madrid
2020 Canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Top goalscorers by year[edit]

2013[edit]

Rank Name Team Goals
1 Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo Spain Real Madrid 3
2 Spain Jonathan Viera Spain Valencia 2
France Karim Benzema Spain Real Madrid

2014[edit]

Rank Name Team Goals
1 Montenegro Stevan Jovetić England Manchester City 5
2 England Wayne Rooney England Manchester United 3
Greece Dimitris Diamantakos Greece Olympiacos
4 Wales Gareth Bale Spain Real Madrid 2
England Ashley Young England Manchester United
Spain Juan Mata England Manchester United
England Raheem Sterling England Liverpool
Italy Francesco Totti Italy Roma

2015[edit]

Rank Name Team Goals
1 Sweden Zlatan Ibrahimović France Paris Saint-Germain 3
France Jean-Kévin Augustin France Paris Saint-Germain
Uruguay Luis Suárez Spain Barcelona
4 Belgium Eden Hazard England Chelsea 2
France Blaise Matuidi France Paris Saint-Germain
United States Sean Davis United States New York Red Bulls
Italy Federico Bernardeschi Italy Fiorentina

Note: Goals from the Worldwide edition are not included.

Results by clubs[edit]

Performances
Club Titles Runner-up Seasons won Seasons runner-up
Spain Real Madrid 3 0 2013, 2015[N. 3]
France Paris Saint-Germain 2 0 2015, 2016
England Manchester United 1 0 2014
Italy Juventus 1 0 2016
Spain FC Barcelona 1 0 2017
Italy Inter Milan 1 0 2017
England Tottenham Hotspur 1 0 2018
Portugal Benfica 1 0 2019
England Liverpool 0 2 2014, 2016
Spain Atlético Madrid 0 2 2016, 2019
England Chelsea 0 1 2013
Italy Milan 0 1 2015
United States New York Red Bulls 0 1 2015
Italy Roma 0 1 2015
Germany Bayern Munich 0 1 2017
England Manchester City 0 1 2017
Germany Borussia Dortmund 0 1 2018

Results by countries[edit]

Performances
Nation Titles Runners-up Total
 Spain 4 2 6
 England 2 4 6
 Italy 2 2 4
 France 2 0 2
 Portugal 1 0 1
 Germany 0 2 2
 United States 0 1 1

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 2014 and 2017 editions were not played in Europe.
  2. ^ Because Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, Arsenal and Lyon played once, while Milan and Bayern Munich played twice.
  3. ^ In two editions (Australia and China).

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Title of "Women's Club World Champion" on the Line at this Summer's Women's International Champions Cup in Portland". Portland Thorns website. Retrieved January 4, 2024.
  2. ^ "Tournament". ICC official website. Archived from the original on February 26, 2014. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  3. ^ "2019 International Champions Cup launched tomorrow". Washington Post. March 27, 2019. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  4. ^ "COPA90 Named International Distribution Partner with 2019 International Champions Cup Futures | State | oleantimesherald.com". Archived from the original on December 7, 2019.
  5. ^ Relevent Sports. "About Relevent". Relevent Sports. Archived from the original on August 9, 2014. Retrieved August 3, 2014. [sic]
  6. ^ Draper, Kevin (July 28, 2017). "The Soccer Power Broker You've Never Heard of". The New York Times.
  7. ^ "International Champions Cup to feature Galaxy, Real Madrid and Juventus". April 16, 2013. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  8. ^ Thomas, Ian (October 1, 2018). "Daniel Sillman, Relevent's 29-year-old CEO, has bold plans". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved July 26, 2022.
  9. ^ "Manchester United v Real Madrid draws largest American crowd to a football match – video". The Guardian. August 3, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  10. ^ "El Clásico Miami brings thousands of fans, millions of dollars to South Florida". Biz Journals. July 26, 2017. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  11. ^ "The International Champions Cup Futures Youth Soccer Tournament Has Lofty Goals". si.com. July 20, 2018. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  12. ^ "Bayern wins ICC Futures Championship, defeats Chelsea". SBNation. July 23, 2018. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  13. ^ "2020 Men's International Champions Cup cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic". Goal.com. Goal. April 11, 2020. Retrieved September 2, 2022.
  14. ^ "A letter from our CEO, Daniel". internationalchampionscup.com (Press release). 2021. Retrieved March 26, 2023.
  15. ^ "2022 Women's International Champions Cup". internationalchampionscup.com. 2022. Retrieved October 17, 2023.
  16. ^ "Thomas Lyte joins Epico to create IC Cup". www.sportindustry.biz. September 18, 2014.
  17. ^ "Relevent Sports Announces Premium Roster of Sponsors for the 2017 International Champions Cup". International Champions Cup. June 19, 2017. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  18. ^ "UnionPay Returns as Premium Partner for the International Champions Cup 2019 in Singapore". March 14, 2019. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  19. ^ "Official Statement: 25 July". Manchester City Football Club. July 25, 2016. Archived from the original on July 28, 2016. Retrieved July 27, 2016. Extreme weather events in Beijing [...] have left the playing surface in a condition deemed to be un-fit for play. [...] As a result of the Beijing match cancelation, there will not be sufficient matches played in the 2016 International Champions Cup China to achieve a tournament winner.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]