Fierce rivalry between the American television networks Fox and NBC is understood to be behind the suggestion that the former want to instigate a summer tournament featuring up to 16 of Europe’s leading clubs at venues all round the world.
Rupert Murdoch’s Fox have lost the rights to live Premier League football, which next season will be on NBC for the first time.
The company want to take advantage of clubs’ willingness to travel long distances for lucrative foreign tours that give further exposure to their “brand”. Chelsea and Manchester City went to the United States last month to play each other. Before the start of the new season Chelsea and Manchester United both visit Thailand and Malaysia and Manchester City are going to South Africa.
A competitive element is often built into these trips, the latest of which is The Guinness International Champions Cup, taking place in six American cities next month. It features clubs including Chelsea, Real Madrid and Milan.
Reports suggest Fox would like to expand that and spread the venues into Asia, with Murdoch’s other companies like Sky broadcasting games. But however much money was on offer, English clubs have always been reluctant to treat such tournaments as anything other than gentle warm-ups for the nine months ahead.