Wembley Stadium is to host a prestigious new pre-season football tournament to be called The Wembley Cup, it was announced today.
UEFA Champions League finalists FC Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur, Celtic Football Club, and African Champions Al Ahly of Egypt will line up in the inaugural Wembley Cup on Friday 24th and Sunday 26th July 2009.
The landmark two-day pre-season competition will consist of two matches to be played across each day. The opening games will be staged on Friday 24th July when Al Ahly take on Celtic while Tottenham play FC Barcelona. The second set of matches will be played two days later on Sunday 26th July with Al Ahly playing FC Barcelona and Tottenham taking on Celtic. The winner of the tournament will be decided on a combined points and goals scored system.
The Wembley Cup has been developed to provide an exciting curtain-raiser to the new season and is a must-see event for football fans. The tournament will give clubs the opportunity to play competitive pre-season matches against top quality opposition at one of the world’s finest sporting venues.
Some of the most exciting players in the world, including Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry, Luka Modric and Robbie Keane, are set to participate in the tournament, providing a fantastic showcase of footballing talent at the home of English football.
Tickets to the event have been competitively priced from £29.00 and with the option of a one or two-day event ticket, fans and families will be able to enjoy a great value weekend of top quality competitive football.
Harry Redknapp, Manager, Tottenham Hotspur: “It’s an honour to be part of the first Wembley Cup which is set to be a fantastic occasion at one of the greatest stadiums in the world. Facing both Barcelona and Celtic at Wembley is a terrific prospect for everyone at the Club and for our fans. These will be important matches for the squad in our preparation for the new season against two of the biggest names in world club football.
Pep Guardiola, Manager, FC Barcelona: “The Wembley Cup is a fantastic opportunity for our fans in the UK to watch Barcelona play in the incredible surroundings of Wembley Stadium. The club has happy memories of Wembley having won the European Cup there in 1992 so it is great to be returning. The tournament will be a very important part of our preparations for the new season.”
Gordon Strachan, Manager, Celtic Football Club: “I am delighted that we will be participating in the inaugural Wembley Cup this summer. The two-day tournament will be an important part of our pre-season calendar. We are looking forward to playing Spurs in London and it will be a privilege to be the first Scottish club side to ever play at Wembley. I am sure the tournament will have a real carnival atmosphere and provide a great spectacle for fans coming to the event.”
Hassan Hamdy, President, Al Ahly: “It’s a great honour for Al Ahly to participate in such a prestigious tournament at Wembley Stadium. For everyone involved in the club, it is an exciting prospect to be playing against world-class opposition in front of our London fans. Playing in The Wembley Cup is very big step forward not only for Al Ahly but for all African clubs and an excellent occasion for us to showcase our club and players to the world."
Roger Maslin, Managing Director of Wembley Stadium: “We are delighted to be working with IMG on launching The Wembley Cup competition. This will be a fantastic opportunity to see Barcelona – one of the world’s most exciting teams go head to head with SPL champions Celtic, Premier League giants Spurs and African Champions Al-Ahly at Wembley Stadium. It will be football at the highest level and a fantastic pre-season appetiser that will give fans the chance to see two games in a day or even four games over two days.”
The tournament is being created and managed by IMG, the premier global sports, and media group.
Peter Worth, SVP Head of Business Development, IMG: “IMG is extremely pleased to have created The Wembley Cup, which is set to become a regular pre-season tournament. We have assembled four of the world’s leading club sides to participate in the inaugural event, and the prospect of seeing their team play at Wembley will be a real draw for fans. As well as it being the first Wembley Cup, it will be the first time that Barcelona have played at the new stadium, the first time that a Scottish club side has played at Wembley and the first time that Al Ahly have played in this country. We are aiming for The Wembley Cup to be an exciting event and provide a great value for money experience for families and football fans alike.”
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London: "London is increasingly seen as the top choice to host great international sporting events from the NFL, the Grand Départ of the Tour De France, NBA Basketball and NHL hockey. I’m extremely happy to welcome the Wembley Cup, which will be a superb addition to the list. Wembley Stadium is one of the jewels in the crown of London’s sporting venues and a perfect stage for some of the world’s best footballing talent."
Public tickets go on sale Monday 18 May. To book visit www.thewembleycup.com or call ticketmaster on 0844 847 2540 or see tickets on 0871 230 7154.
Priority tickets for season ticket holders of participating clubs go on sale Wednesday 13 May (information regarding how to book will be emailed to those it applies to through their respective club).