Trophée des Champions returns to Africa after short-lived Europe experiment
The LFP, the French professional soccer league, has announced that the Trophée des Champions, its annual season-opening match, will return to Tangiers, Morocco this year.
The game will be played on 29 July at the 45,000-seat Grand Stade de Tanger.
The LFP said it accepted the bid from the Moroccan Football Federation because of the quality of the stadium, the good climatic conditions, a favourable time zone for broadcasters and the relatively short travel distance, with the 2017-18 Ligue 1 season due to start one week later.
It will be the fourth time that Africa has staged the Trophée des Champions, after Tunis (Tunisia) in 2010, Tangiers in 2011 and Libreville (Gabon) in 2013.
The 2014 and 2015 editions were played in Beijing, China and Montreal, Canada, respectively, while last summer's curtain-raiser took place in Klagenfurt, Austria in front of a crowd of just 10,120 spectators.
The LFP said at the time that IFCS, the Austrian promoter, had “made a commitment” to ensure a crowd of 25,000 fans at the 32,000-seat venue.
It was the first time that the Trophée des Champions, held outside of France since 2009, had been played elsewhere in Europe.