International teams, including Premier League squads, now visit the United States for a series of friendlies under the Guinness International Champions Cup banner. But MLS Commissioner Don Garber wants to expand that relationship into a much more formal tourney, perhaps including teams from other countries, such as Mexico or France. From The Independent:
“We have been talking to the Premier League about doing some sort of official competition as opposed to just having clubs come over to the country on a random basis playing in a tournament that takes place every summer,” Garber said.
The Premier League said general talks had taken place, but the format of any potential tournament had not been discussed….
“I would love to find a way that we could play our cup champion and our league champion against an FA Cup and league champion in a tournament and play it in New York City every year,” he said.
Friendlies are a big business at American sports venues, whether it be an MLS pitch, a ballpark or a college/NFL football stadium. Launching an annual tournament and putting more on the line while increasing the number of venues hosting matches would be a big coup for MLS. The league has certainly been on a roll lately by attracting decent talent from Europe and increasing the level of play. Adding an international component to it in the form of Premier League teams would certainly raise the league’s international profile even more.
However, it’s important to note that these are just talks — nothing is firm, and while Garber and MLS certainly have a lot to gain with a tourney, Premier League players might not be too enthused.