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Up close with the world's top footballers in Singapore

The Business Times by LEE U-WEN

Singapore

IF you fancy being within almost touching distance of some of the world's most famous footballers as they dazzle the National Stadium this July, you can experience just that - at a price, of course.

Organisers of this year's International Champions Cup (ICC) tournament have, for the first time, released a new category of tickets called "Field Seats" for each of the event's three matches.

With a price tag of S$388 each, these will be placed in a "strategic location" on the length of the pitch, opposite the dugouts where the players and managers sit.

There will be just 50 of these seats available per match, the organisers Catalyst Media Group and Relevent said in a statement over the weekend.

This is the second time that Singapore is hosting the ICC, the only Asian city to do so for this year's edition.

Three of Europe's most established clubs - Arsenal (England), Paris Saint-Germain (France) and Atletico Madrid (Spain) - will be in town to play one another from July 26 to July 30.

Tickets for this glamorous pre-season tournament first went on sale last Tuesday for UnionPay cardholders, with the public sale starting on April 30 at 10am.

The cheapest seat in the Singapore Sports Hub's 55,000-capacity National Stadium costs S$28, while the most expensive regular seat goes for S$208.

This is the second time in three years that fans in Singapore will get to see Arsenal play. The Gunners (Arsenal's nickname) were last here in July 2015 when they took part in the four-team Barclays Asia Trophy tournament, which they eventually won.

Arsenal will play the first match of the ICC's Singapore leg on July 26 against Atletico Madrid, in what is a repeat of their meeting in this season's Europa League semi-finals.

With Arsenal's long-time manager Arsene Wenger leaving the club in May, the club is likely to have a new manager and several new players in their squad by the time they land in the Lion City.

The second match on July 28 features the reigning French league champions Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) against Arsenal. The third and final fixture on July 30 sees PSG taking on Atletico Madrid.

The ICC, an annual summer football tournament, features 18 top clubs playing a total of 27 matches across the US and Europe, and in Singapore.

Last year, the Singapore leg featured a star-studded line-up of Chelsea (England), Bayern Munich (Germany) and Inter-Milan (Italy).