Football: Singapore to host ICC and top football clubs until 2020

Former Inter Milan goalkeeper Francesco Toldo (left) and former Chelsea striker Tore Andre Flo (right) in a kickabout with children from local football training centres at Jalan Besar Stadium yesterday.
Former Inter Milan goalkeeper Francesco Toldo (left) and former Chelsea striker Tore Andre Flo (right) in a kickabout with children from local football training centres at Jalan Besar Stadium yesterday.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

Local football fans will enjoy a staple of world-class action for the next four years with the International Champions Cup (ICC) making Singapore a stop until 2020.

This year's edition will feature runaway English Premier League (EPL) leaders Chelsea, German Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich and Italian Serie A side Inter Milan.

They will play in a round-robin three-match tournament at the National Stadium from July 25-29.

The ICC started in 2013 as a glamourous pre-season competition pitting top international clubs against each other in different venues across the globe.

Last year's United States and Europe leg featured the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona.

ICC organiser Catalyst Media Group president and chairman Patrick Murphy promised a "very good selection of top clubs" over the four-year period, as the teams usually alternate between playing in North America and Asia.

  • INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONS CUP SINGAPORE 2017


    FIXTURES

    • Tuesday, July 25

    Chelsea v Bayern Munich

    • Thursday, July 27

    Bayern Munich v Inter Milan

    • Saturday, July 29

    Chelsea v Inter Milan


    TICKETS

    • From $25 for children and $40 for adults.

    • Available from March 30 at www.sportshubtix.sg, the Sports Hub Box Office and all Singapore Post Outlets.

Singapore is the third country to stage the annual event in Asia-Pacific, after China and Australia and the first South-east Asian host.

Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran said in a Facebook post yesterday that the event "will augment Singapore's current suite of sporting and lifestyle events, and enhance our global branding as an attractive lifestyle and tourism destination".

Former Bayern midfielder Hasan Salihamidzic said: "We have a lot of fans in Asia and we want to make them happy... I spoke with a lot of players and they said they are really looking forward to coming here."

He was joined at yesterday's ceremony at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel by former Inter goalkeeper Francesco Toldo and former Chelsea striker Tore Andre Flo.

Flo said Blues manager Antonio Conte, who is chasing a league and FA Cup double in his first season in England, was likely to bring a full-strength team for the tour.

He noted: "It's also in a very important time of the pre-season, so all the players will be trying to impress the manager obviously and trying to make it to the team.

"I know we have a lot of supporters here in Singapore who don't have the chance to go to Stamford Bridge and it's nice for them that their heroes come over here."

The last high-profile football event at the National Stadium was the 2015 Barclays Asia Trophy which featured EPL sides Arsenal, Everton and Stoke City.

The tournament has since moved to Hong Kong and China.

Singapore Tourism Board deputy chief executive Melissa Ow said: "I think fans want to look forward to some predictability, so there has to be an event which then becomes a staple in the calendar and something which they can plan their annual visits to Singapore (around)...

"It isn't just about any football event; it has to be something which is about the best brands, the biggest teams and probably the most renowned players.

"So it's the whole premium experience and content that we've brought."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 17, 2017, with the headline 'Singapore to host top football clubs until 2020'. Print Edition | Subscribe