Global Soccer: Permanent Spot in Champions League a Change Not Worth Making


Gareth Bale of Real Madrid taking a penalty kick against Manchester United during an August 2014 match in the International Champions Cup that drew more than 100,000 fans in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Jeff Kowalsky/European Pressphoto Agency

LONDON — The American promoter Charlie Stillitano could hardly have chosen a worse time to push for change in European soccer.

Stillitano, the chairman of Relevant Sports, runs summer tournaments called the International Champions Cup. It features elite soccer teams from Europe playing one another during their off-seasons in three different countries: the United States, Australia and China. Its novelty factor has drawn sold-out crowds and drummed up television and sponsorship money for, in effect, watching half-fit star players getting into shape for the coming season.

“Europe’s best are coming,” is the slogan on its website. Relevant Sports claims to have “revolutionized the international soccer landscape“ by…

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