Melbourne to host football’s International Champions Cup till 2018

Melbourne, July 27 (IANS) The Australian state of Victoria has secured the rights to host football’s International Champions Cup (ICC) for a further three years following the success of the 2015 tournament.

European heavyweights AS Roma, Real Madrid and Manchester City took part in three matches here in July which were watched by 221,262 people at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), reports Xinhua.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) announced the news on Monday after the deal was secured by the state’s sports minister John Eren who said the three-year deal could be worth as much as $110 million to the Victorian economy.

“The Cup will be great for fans and great for businesses. Securing it will help grow tourism, jobs and showcase our state to the world,” he said.

Eren said that more than half of all tickets of the three matches were sold to interstate or overseas visitors, strengthening the argument for bringing more high-profile football matches to the Victorian capital. He added the success brought by this year’s tournament would entice other heavyweight clubs and would further enhance the already-rich sporting calendar that Melbourne has.

“Victorians love big sporting events at the MCG – the crowds prove it. We’re strengthening our major events calendar to keep our state strong. The ICC will bring some of the best players on the planet to Victoria, to work their magic at the best stadium in the world,” Eren said.

According to reports, New South Wales attempted to lure the tournament to Sydney but Victoria was granted “exclusive” rights to host the ICC for the next three years.

The three matches played in July culminated in a record football crowd at the MCG for the final match where 99,832 people crammed into the stadium to watch Real Madrid defeat Manchester City on Friday.

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