The man accused of plotting a closed-off competition for Europe’s biggest clubs has denied that his organisation’s pre-season friendly tournament will play a hand in forming any breakaway league.
But Charlie Stillitano, the chairman of the International Champions Cup (ICC) organisers Relevent Sports, does believe that top clubs could form a new competition under the auspices of the relevant bodies and suggests the ICC would provide a good model to follow.
“I don’t think that can happen,” said Stillitano of the ICC proving a precursor to a European Super League.
“It has to come from the governing bodies. I guess the best we could hope for is they see our tournament as a model for how things could be done.”
Read more: Could a European Super League really happen?
Stillitano sparked talked of a breakaway competition this year after holding talks with executives from top Premier League clubs and later suggesting that less well-established sides such as Leicester would not be welcome.
The newly-crowned Premier League champions have since been named as participants in this year’s ICC — which will hold games in China, Australia and the USA — alongside European giants Bayern Munich, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, and Stillitano believes their inclusion demonstrates the kind of openness to new sides that a breakaway league should adopt.
“Ours is the furthest thing from a closed tournament. In fact, it’s beyond open,” he added.
“We invited Leicester when they were just having a good season, people forget that. They had not come close to winning at that point. We had talked to them pre-January about going to Australia.
“We’re all about the inclusion of teams. If you just include the teams that become great brands by history you don’t include the wonderful stories like Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Leicester, because the reality is they are relatively new.”
The ICC announced yesterday that its pre-season fixture between Liverpool and Barcelona would be held at Wembley on Saturday 6 August, the day before Manchester United and Leicester do battle for the Community Shield at the same venue.