March 24, 2009
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford Stadium has been selected as one of the venues for the inaugural World Football Challenge, a four-team round robin tournament that will be held in six cities across the United States this summer.
Renowned international teams Club America of Mexico and Inter Milan of Italy will meet at Stanford Stadium on July 19, with kickoff scheduled for 4 p.m.
Other matches in the World Football Challenge include Chelsea FC of England vs. Inter Milan at the Rose Bowl on July 21; AC Milan of Italy vs. Club America at the Georgia Dome on July 22; AC Milan vs. Chelsea at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md., on July 24; AC Milan vs. Inter Milan at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. on July 26 and Chelsea FC vs. Club America at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on July 26.
Tickets for all matches go on sale today at www.worldfootballchallenge.com.
"As president of Club America I am delighted to participate in the World Football Challenge," said Michel Bauer, Club America president. "I know our fans in the U.S. and Mexico will enjoy such an exciting competition and watching our eagles play against these elite European clubs. With so much talent on the pitch, it's going to be a competitive tournament and I'm looking forward to getting it started."
Marco Branca, Inter Milan technical director added, "We are very proud to take part in an important event like this. The international spirit is the historic core of our club. The fixtures in the United States are going to be important steps for the preparation of the following season and will give us the possibility to meet our fans in America. This is the first time we have played in America in 40 years and we are confident our supporters will cheer for our squad of big champions."
Stanford Stadium has a long history of hosting international soccer events. Six matches of the 1994 World Cup were played there, highlighted by Brazil's 1-0 Round of 16 victory over the United States on July 4 before 84,147 fans.
The stadium also has been the site of the United States' 2-0 victory over Brazil in the 1999 Women's World Cup semifinals, several matches of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic men's soccer tournament, two World Cup qualifiers and five U.S. national team exhibitions.
This will be the second appearance at Stanford for Club America, which played Chelsea in the first international match in the renovated Stanford Stadium, on July 14, 2007.
Inter Milan currently leads Italy's Serie A after 29 matches, with one month remaining. The team is led by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is tied for the Serie A goal-scoring lead with 19. Ibrahimovic is a Swedish striker who is nicknamed "Ibracadabra" for his "magical" play and is one of the highest paid players in the world.
Among Inter's other big name players are Portugal's Luis Figo, Argentina's Hernan Crespo, and Italian defender Marco Materazzi.
Club America is one of Mexico's traditional powers and regarded as one of the richest clubs in the world outside Europe. America is a 14-time league champion and currently tied for second in its group during the Mexican Clausura season.
CAA Sports, a division of Creative Artists Agency, the leading entertainment and sports agency, is the event management agency and organizers of the World Football Challenge.
"Considering this country's ever-growing enthusiasm for soccer, the World Football Challenge is an exciting way for us to introduce these world-class teams and their star players to a brand new fan base while giving existing American fans of international soccer a first-hand experience like no other," said Michael Levine, co-head of CAA Sports.
Kenyon added, "The interest in soccer in the U.S. is higher than ever before and the proof is that these matches will be televised live on ESPN, the country's leading sports station."
ESPN, the U.S. English-language television home of the Men's and Women's FIFA World Cups and other marquee international soccer competitions, is the broadcast partner and will televise all matches on ESPN or ESPN2. Matches will also air on ESPN's Spanish-language sports network, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN360.com, the company's live sports broadband network.
"We're very excited to work with CAA Sports in providing football fans around the country with the opportunity to see four of the world's marquee football clubs in action," said Scott Guglielmino, vice president of programming, ESPN. "The inaugural `World Football Challenge' will be a great Summer time event for football fans."
In May 2008, ESPN2's live telecast of the UEFA Champions League final - Chelsea vs. Manchester United - from the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, was seen by 1.1 million viewers, a record for the series in the U.S. In addition, the live coverage of all 31 UEFA European Football Championship 2008 (Euro 2008) matches from eight cities in Switzerland and Austria last June delivered unprecedented viewership, reaching a total of 44.7 million people across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Classic during the three-week tournament.
WORLD FOOTBALL CHALLENGE MATCH SCHEDULE
Sunday, July 19
Club America vs. Inter Milan at Stanford Stadium (Stanford, Calif.)
4 p.m. on ESPN2
Tuesday, July 21
Chelsea vs. Inter Milan at the Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.)
8 p.m. on ESPN2
Wednesday, July 22
AC Milan vs. Club America at the Georgia Dome (Atlanta, Ga.)
4 p.m. on ESPN2
Friday, July 24
AC Milan vs. Chelsea FC at M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore, Md.)
5 p.m. on ESPN
Sunday, July 26
AC Milan vs. Inter Milano at Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
2 p.m. on ESPN2
Sunday, July 26
Chelsea vs. Club America at Cowboy Stadium (Arlington, Texas)
4 p.m. on ESPN2
All times Pacific