International Champions Cup

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International Champions Cup
International Champions Cup logo.png
Founded 2013; 4 years ago (2013)
Number of teams 3–17
Current champions United States:
Spain Barcelona (1st title)
Australia (2016):
Italy Juventus (1st title)
Italy Internazionale (1st title)
Most successful club(s) Spain Real Madrid (3 titles)
2017 International Champions Cup

The International Champions Cup (ICC) is an annual club association football exhibition competition. It features club teams from Europe playing pre-season friendly matches, originally in the United States and Canada, but in the years since also in venues in China, Australia, Mexico and across Europe. The ICC was founded by Relevent Sports, a division of 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.[1][2] It replaced the World Football Challenge, which had featured a more even distribution of European- and American-based sides.[3]

During the 2014 tournament, a match between Manchester United and Real Madrid at Michigan Stadium[4] set the all-time record for attendance at a soccer game in the United States with 109,318 spectators.


The format has changed in each competition. The first two tournaments featured eight teams organized into two groups of four. Subsequent tournaments had different numbers of teams in the three different 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.[5]

Presenting sponsor[edit]

The physical trophy was created by silversmiths Thomas Lyte in partnership with EPICO Studios.[6]

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.


North America and Europe[N. 1] Australia China Singapore
Tournament Winner Runner-up Winner Runner-up Winner Runner-up Winner Runner-up
Spain Real Madrid England Chelsea Not held Not held Not held
England Manchester United England Liverpool
France Paris Saint-Germain United States New York Red Bulls Spain Real Madrid Italy Roma Spain Real Madrid Italy Milan
France Paris Saint-Germain England Liverpool Italy Juventus Spain Atlético Madrid Uncrowned due to match cancellation[7]
Spain Barcelona England Manchester City Not held Uncrowned[N. 2] Italy Inter Milan Germany Bayern Munich


  1. ^ 2014 and 2017 edition not played in Europe.
  2. ^ Because Borussia Dortmund, Inter, Arsenal and Lyon played once while Milan and Bayern Munich played twice.


  1. ^ "About". Retrieved May 3, 2015. 
  2. ^ Relevent Sports. "About Relevent". Relevent Sports.  [sic]
  3. ^ "International Champions Cup to feature Galaxy, Real Madrid and Juventus". April 16, 2013. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Manchester United v Real Madrid draws largest American crowd to a football match – video". the Guardian. August 3, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Tournament". ICC official website. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Thomas Lyte joins Epico to create IC Cup". 
  7. ^ "Official Statement: 25 July". Manchester City Football Club. 25 July 2016. Retrieved 27 July 2016. As a result of the Beijing match cancellation, there will not be sufficient matches played in the 2016 International Champions Cup China to achieve a tournament winner. 

External links[edit]