Last summer Chelsea traveled almost 15,000 miles during a preseason tour of Asia, playing matches in Beijing and Singapore as part of the International Champions Cup. It was exhausting and busy and hardly ideal preparation for the new season. It was also par for the course in these modern times of ultra-commercialized top flight football.
So it’s not going to get much better this summer. Chelsea have today confirmed that the club will once again partake in the International Champions Cup, for the fifth straight summer. The exact dates and locations have yet to be specified, but rarely an offseason goes by without a visit to America, and the Blues did skip a trip west last year.
Chelsea do however have a confirmed friendly already in Perth, Australia on July 23. This may or may not be officially part of the ICC, but it’s unlikely that Chelsea would fly that far only for one match.
Lock it in!— Perth Glory FC (@PerthGloryFC) February 8, 2018
Glory will face @ChelseaFC at @OptusStadium on Monday 23rd July.
Pre-sale ticket window, exclusive to Glory Members, opens on Monday 12th February.
Full details to follow...#CREATEDESTINY pic.twitter.com/PcpoipbtAZ
While wrapped in the guise of preseason preparations, the ICC and all such summer games are not much more than marketing and money-making exercises. The top clubs want to grown their “brand”, the organizers want to make money, and the overseas fans want to see their teams in person, which is actually the nice part of the operation.
The ICC itself has grown in recent years, and matches are now being played not just in North America, but Asia, Australia, and a few even in Europe, too. Chelsea will find out the exact schedule in next week’s “draw” in Miami, FL. Michael Essien will apparently be in attendance, so hopefully he ensures that Chelsea end up visiting [your location].
There will be a total of eighteen teams participating in this tournament of loose collection of games (there’s a trophy at the end, even), including Arsenal, Spurs, Bayern Munich, BVB and many more. All those teams will have to contend with a shortened summer thanks to the World Cup, so hopefully the travel itself won’t be too much of a problem for Chelsea and the head coach (whoever he is) to get the team into fighting shape for the new season. In recent years, Chelsea have actually held two training camps each summer, one closer to home (England or Austria) and one farther away (Asia or America)
Oh, and if you care, here’s what the trophy looks like.