ESL debacle forces Relevent to pull ICC plans for 2021, but promise 2022 return

June 18 – The mens International Champions Cup (ICC) organised by US sports marketing group Relevent has been cancelled for a second year. Relevent will be continuing with its four-team women’s tournament announced last month.

The ICC had become a regular calendar pre-season romp predominantly through the US and Asia. The biggest European club names generally featured in what was a somewhat eclectic format that whatever it lacked in sporting integrity, made up for in star power and marketing pzazz

In an open letter on the Relevent website, CEO Danny Sillman Sports Group said that “in the Summer of 2022, the Mens International Champions Cup returns to the US and Asia”. No detail of schedules or teams competing has been released at this early stage.

A key reason for the abandonment of plans for the 2021 event has been the fall out from the European Super League (ESL) controversy.

All the teams in the ESL breakaway had at some point played on the ICC circuit with the three teams who are still refusing to give up the concept – Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid – being regular performers. Relevent even turned a Barca vs Real Madrid El Clasico match-up into a week of themed events before the game in Miami in 2017, repeating it in following years.

Relevent also has a strong and growing relationship with LaLiga that has recently expanded its 50/50 joint venture in the US into Mexico. LaLiga and its president Javier Tebas has been fiercely critical of the ESL and the two Spanish giant clubs in particular for not having given up the ESL dream and in so doing endangering the unity, structure and financial inter-dependence of both the Spanish and European club game.

For Relevent to reward Barcelona and Real Madrid in particular by organising matches in the US for them would likely compromise its relationship with LaLiga.

Sillman toldSport Business:“Candidly, the Super League fallout and Super League fears created too much of a challenge to create something substantial.”

Relevent will be restarting its Womens ICC tournament that it first held in 2018.

Portland Thorns and Houston Dash, of the National Women’s Soccer League, and European clubs Olympique Lyonnais Féminin and FC Barcelona Femení will play at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon from August 17-21.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1660192122labto1660192122ofdlr1660192122owedi1660192122sni@n1660192122osloh1660192122cin.l1660192122uap1660192122