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Roma pull out of ICC over 'unforeseen' Europa League involvement

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Roma pull out of ICC over 'unforeseen' Europa League involvement
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Round of 16 Second Leg - FC Porto v AS Roma - Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal - March 6, 2019 AS Roma players line up before the match REUTERS/Pedro Nunes   -   Copyright  PEDRO NUNES(Reuters)
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ROME (Reuters) – AS Roma have pulled out of this year’s International Champions Cup (ICC) pre-season tournament because of their “unforeseen involvement” in the early rounds of Europa League qualifying, the Serie A club said on Wednesday.

Roma’s sixth-place finish in Serie A last season meant they missed out on the Champions League and must now take part in the second round of the Europa League qualifiers, which start on July 25 and clash with the ICC.

They had been due to play three games in the United States, against Guadalajara, Arsenal and Benfica. Roma said Fiorentina would take their place.

“We looked at every available option in order to avoid withdrawing, however, in the end the decision had to be made in light of next season’s commitments,” said Roma’s chief executive Guido Fienga.

The ICC, a pre-season friendly tournament organised by U.S.-based Relevent Sports, will feature 12 clubs this season with matches to be played in the United States, Singapore, China, England, Wales and Sweden.

Gazzetta dello Sport said Roma’s absence would cost them $2 million.

Roma coach Paulo Fonseca, appointed on Wednesday, said that the early start would be difficult.

“We might have just four weeks of pre-season before the first game. So I think we will have to adapt our ideas very, very quickly,” said the Portuguese, previously in charge of Shakhtar Donetsk.

“I am sure that we will build a team that the supporters can be proud of,” he added. “A courageous team, an ambitious team. And if you have these ingredients then you will have a better chance of winning.”

“I believe that a lot of the players have the quality to play the courageous, ambitious, attacking game that I want to implement. A style where we dominate the opponent.”

Fonseca said he had fulfilled a dream by coaching Roma. “I am very ambitious and it was one of the main goals in my career to eventually coach one of the biggest teams in Europe,” he said.

(Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis)

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