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Melbourne makes bold play for football's International Champions Cup

English.news.cn   2014-08-13 09:26:25

CANBERRA, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Australia is set to host some of world football's biggest names next year after it was officially announced that the prestigious International Champions Cup would be played in 2015.

The pre-season event, contested by the likes of Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester United and AC Milan in the past, will venture to Australia in 2015, with three teams likely to compete in the southern hemisphere.

Those three sides, believed to be Real Madrid, Manchester City and Liverpool, will play each other in three lucrative matches.

The matches would take place on July 25, 29 and 31 at the MCG as it is believed demand for tickets would exceed the 54,000-seat capacity of Etihad Stadium.

The International Champions Cup was created in 2013 and has run for two years, with both tournaments so far played in the United States.

Earlier in the month, a match between Manchester United and Real Madrid in Michigan drew a record crowd of 109,318.

Manchester United, who defeated Liverpool 3-1 in the final in Miami, eventually won 2014's event, with Louis van Gaal's side pocketing over four million U.S. dollars for its success.

More high-profile international clubs are expected on Australian shores in 2015 as well, with FFA chief David Gallop confirming negotiations for the third annual A-League All Stars match are underway.

The once-a-year showpiece occasion, which this year hosted Italian champions Juventus, was again labelled a success, with 55, 364 supporters turning out on Sunday evening for the match at Sydney's ANZ Stadium.

Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri delighted the crowd by fielding a strong starting lineup, with the 32-time Serie A champions running out 3-2 winners.

The event earned the FFA a seven-figure profit, which will subsequently be shared evenly between all 10 A-League sides.

The match against Juventus followed the inaugural A-League All Stars game in 2013, where an even bigger crowd came to watch the then-Premier League champions Manchester United.

83,127 was the attendance on that night, with the FFA hoping the announcement of another English side in Australia leading to that figure being rivaled in 2015.

Arsenal and Chelsea have been touted as potential candidates for next year's fixture, however Gallop remained tight-lipped over who was in negotiations.

"I can guarantee it will be someone big," the FFA executive said.

"We are already in negotiations with a number of potential opponents for next year that are inside the top five or 10 clubs in the world and I think Sunday night would have dispelled any of the naysayers about the strategic importance of this game and this event.

"It was a hard game to program around Juventus' commitments around the rest of Asia and Sunday night is not an easy night, so we were happy with 55,000."

Gallop also praised the efforts of the A-League All Stars team, who despite only being together for 10 days in training, twice took the lead against their superstar opponents.

"Juventus were a bit surprised by how well we played and I think they enjoyed the atmosphere of the 55,000 fans," Gallop said. "I'm sure they came away feeling a bit rattled and a bit lucky that they got that third goal.

"We had players from all 10 clubs, a coach who wasn't afraid to play an attacking style and the project is one that we think was successful in year one, but on Sunday night really cemented it as a good move for Australian football."

Editor: Yamei Wang
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