Open main menu

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]

International Champions Cup
Founded2013; 6 years ago (2013)
Number of teams8–18 (different years)
Current championsPortugal Benfica (1st title)
Most successful club(s)Spain Real Madrid (3 titles)
2019 International Champions Cup
Women's International Champions Cup
Founded2018; 1 year ago (2018)
Number of teams4
Current championsFrance Lyon (1st title)
Most successful club(s)United States North Carolina Courage
France Lyon (1st title)
2019 Women's International Champions Cup

During the 2014 tournament, a match between Manchester United and Real Madrid at Michigan Stadium set the all-time record for attendance at a soccer game in the United States with 109,318 spectators.[4] In 2017 Real Madrid and Barcelona played in the second El Clásico ever held outside of Spain.[5]

In 2018, Relevent launched the ICC Womens tournament featuring four European and American clubs, with the North Carolina Courage defeating Olympique Lyonnais to win the inaugural trophy.[6] The ICC Future’s tournament also began in 2018 with 24 teams including 8 academies from Europe, 8 MLS Academies, and 8 US based state all-star teams. Bayern Munich topped Chelsea to win the first ever ICC Futures trophy.[7][8]



The format has changed in each competition. Subsequent tournaments have had different numbers of teams in the three 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.[9]

Starting with the 2015 season the tournament was separated into three geographic editions with a winner crowned for each region based on points total. The 2015 and 2016 tournament held editions in North America and Europe, Australia, and China. The Australia and China tournaments were contested as three-team round-robin competitions (Real Madrid participated in both), and the North America and Europe edition featured ten teams (including three US-based MLS teams) which played four matches each. The 2016 season retained the same format and regions, with Melbourne Victory of the A-League joining as the fourth team in the Australia region. In 2017 Singapore replaced Australia as one of the three regions.

In 2018, all 18 participating teams contested the tournament as part of a single table, with each team playing three matches and the champion crowned based on points total. Matches were held across 15 venues in the United States, 7 in Europe, and 1 in Singapore.

For the 2019 edition, 12 teams participated in the tournament. Guadalajara took place in this tournament, being the only non-European team participating. Games were played across 17 cities in the United States, Europe, Singapore and China.[10]


The physical trophy was created by silversmiths Thomas Lyte in partnership with EPICO Studios.[11]

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. Heineken became the presenting sponsor of the tournament from 2016 onward.[12] UnionPay became the sponsor of the tournament for the Singapore leg since 2018.[13]

Results by yearEdit

Country editions (2013–2017)Edit

Edition Teams North America and Europe[N. 1] Australia China Singapore
Winner Runner-up Winner Runner-up Winner Runner-up Winner Runner-up
2013 8   Real Madrid   Chelsea not held not held not held
2014 8   Manchester United   Liverpool
2015 15   Paris Saint-Germain   New York Red Bulls   Real Madrid   Roma   Real Madrid   Milan
2016 17   Paris Saint-Germain   Liverpool   Juventus   Atlético Madrid uncrowned — match cancelled[14]
2017 15   Barcelona   Manchester City not held uncrowned[N. 2]   Inter Milan   Bayern Munich

Worldwide (since 2018)Edit

Edition Teams Winner Runner-up
2018 18   Tottenham Hotspur   Borussia Dortmund
2019 12   Benfica   Atlético Madrid

Women (since 2018)Edit

Edition Teams Winner Runner-up Third place Fourth place
2018 4   North Carolina Courage   Lyon   Manchester City   Paris Saint-Germain
2019 4   Lyon   North Carolina Courage   Manchester City   Atlético Madrid

Results by clubsEdit

Club Titles Runners-up Seasons won Seasons runner-up
  Real Madrid 3 0 2013, 2015[N. 3]
  Paris Saint-Germain 2 0 2015, 2016
  Manchester United 1 0 2014
  Juventus 1 0 2016
  Barcelona 1 0 2017
  Inter Milan 1 0 2017
  Tottenham Hotspur 1 0 2018
  Benfica 1 0 2019
  Liverpool 0 2 2014, 2016
  Atlético Madrid 0 2 2016, 2019
  Chelsea 0 1 2013
  Milan 0 1 2015
  New York Red Bulls 0 1 2015
  Roma 0 1 2015
  Bayern Munich 0 1 2017
  Manchester City 0 1 2017
  Borussia Dortmund 0 1 2018

Results by countriesEdit

Nation Titles Runners-up Total
  Spain 4 2 6
  England 2 4 6
  Italy 2 2 4
  France 2 0 2
  Portugal 1 0 1
  Germany 0 2 2
  United States 0 1 1


  1. ^ 2014 and 2017 editions were not played in Europe.
  2. ^ Because Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, Arsenal and Lyon played once, while Milan and Bayern Munich played twice.
  3. ^ In two editions (Australia and China).


  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. ^ "El Clásico Miami brings thousands of fans, millions of dollars to South Florida". Biz Journals. July 26, 2017. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  6. ^ "North Carolina Courage hold on for 'good, gutsy, American' win in ICC women's final". Sun Sentinel. July 30, 2018. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  7. ^ "The International Champions Cup Futures Youth Soccer Tournament Has Lofty Goals". July 20, 2018. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  8. ^ "Bayern wins ICC Futures Championship, defeats Chelsea". SBNation. July 23, 2018. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  9. ^ "Tournament". ICC official website. Archived from the original on February 26, 2014. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  10. ^ "2019 International Champions Cup launched tomorrow". Washington Post. March 27, 2019. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  11. ^ "Thomas Lyte joins Epico to create IC Cup".
  12. ^ "Relevent Sports Announces Premium Roster of Sponsors for the 2017 International Champions Cup". International Champions Cup. June 19, 2017. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  13. ^ "UnionPay Returns as Premium Partner for the International Champions Cup 2019 in Singapore". March 14, 2019. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  14. ^ "Official Statement: 25 July". Manchester City Football Club. July 25, 2016. Retrieved July 27, 2016. Extreme weather events in Beijing [...] have left the playing surface in a condition deemed to be un-fit for play. [...] 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 linksEdit