Who, you might be asking, is Charlie Stillitano?
We’ll start there. The New Jersey soccer power broker’s storied rise from Bob Bradley’s teammate at Princeton to arguably the most well-connected American soccer official in Europe is worth knowing. Grant Wahl profiled him last year, and the guy has stories. Jose Mourinho calls him, to this day, Mr. Zero Mistakes.
Most importantly to our story today, as the chairman of Relevant Sports, Stillitano organizes the Guinness International Champions Cup in the U.S. every summer. The blockbuster friendly tournament reels in a handful of top European clubs every year, each of which is running through its preseason paces Stateside. In 2014, 109,000 people packed into the Big House in Ann Arbor, which looked like this for a day for a Manchester United-Real Madrid friendly.
According to the Guardian, Stillitano was in London this week to speak with the Premier League’s legacy clubs: Arsenal, both Manchesters, Liverpool and Chelsea. The ICC was the biggest issue on the docket, but the crew also discussed other matters. Namely the Champions League. This is where things get hazy.