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  • Big name friendly at BMO? Don't count on it


    A press release that briefly appeared on ESPN Deportes has TFC fans wondering if a big name friendly is planned for BMO Field this year. The relevant part:


    This summer, ESPN Deportes will provide Spanish-language television coverage of the third annual World Football Challenge. Beginning on July 13 and concluding on July 30, four of the best soccer teams in Europe – Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Manchester City– will face off top North American teams – Club America, New England Revolution, Los Angeles Galaxy, Vancouver Whitecaps, Toronto FC, Chicago Fire, Chivas and Chivas USA- at some of the most recognized stadiums across the U.S.

    Under the agreement, ESPN will air more than 10 live matches of the tournament across four different platforms including: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3.com and ESPN Deportes. The Spanish-language network will also present extensive news and information coverage following the entire tournament with special reports for Fuera de Juego and Futbol Picante.

    It's worth noting that there have been no TFC games announced as part of the 2011 Herbalife World Football Challenge schedule.

    CSN did receive a tip from a reliable source that there were negotiations to bring a top Italian team into Toronto this year, but those rumours have not been confirmed.

    However, the possibility of a big name friendly this year runs contrary to every other piece of information CSN has received. About a month ago, A source with the club said that there were no current plans to play any friendlies this year. That decision was based partly on feedback received at the town hall meetings last year, but the biggest factor in the choice not to play was the possibility of fixture congestion if TFC goes to the CONCACAF Champions League.

    We were told that Aron Winter requested that the club not be burdened by another game.

    It was suggested to us that there might be a "slight" chance of a game being booked if TFC fails to win the Nutrilite Canadian Championship. However, it would likely be against a lower profile club than those involved in the World Football Challenge.

    Based on the information we've received -- and the fact that the press release was quickly taken down -- it seems likely that it was an error rather than an indication.

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