Talks between UEFA and Relevent Sports Group about an expanded International Champions Cup -- one that would compete directly with FIFA's Club World Cup -- have reached an advanced stage, sources have confirmed to ESPN.
The Daily Mail was the first to report the latest developments about the talks. The New York Times reported back in January that Relevent owner Stephen M. Ross had met with some of Europe's biggest clubs to discuss the possibility of an expanded ICC, including Liverpool, Manchester United, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.
The ICC and ESPN have a broadcast partnership.
The first edition of the tournament would be held in the U.S. starting in 2021, with a possible move to Asia in subsequent years. The proposed tournament would feature a group stage followed by knockout rounds. The timing would put the tournament up against FIFA's Club World Cup, which is scheduled for June and July of 2021 in Shanghai.
The revamped ICC would have official UEFA backing, transforming the event into a major tournament with significant stakes. In previous editions of the ICC, teams have used the tournament as a preseason tune-up, with many young and fringe players getting considerable playing time. But for the new edition of the tournament, clubs would provide assurances that their top players would play. A source confirmed the possibility that South American teams could also take part.
While the Club World Cup is schedule to take place every four years, the expanded ICC would be an annual event. Scheduling could be problematic, especially in years in which a World Cup, Euros or Copa America are held, but one source with knowledge of the talks indicated that European leagues are open to altering their schedules in order to accommodate the tournament.
UEFA and FIFA have been at odds over the financial terms and format of the Club World Cup, and FIFA has had difficulty obtaining the necessary financing to stage the event. Those tensions have highlighted the rift between UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin and FIFA president Gianni Infantino.