Leicester City's charge towards the Premier League title is captivating football fans around the world, but business executives seem to be looking at it differently.
The Foxes look on course to qualify for the Champions League next season for the first time in their history. Claudio Ranieri's side may end up welcoming sides like Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Juventus to the King Power Stadium.
Champions League qualification has been reserved for the top-four in recent years in England, but with Tottenham also looking set to qualify for next season some of England's traditional entrants look set on missing out. With Chelsea's recovery happening too late to a run on Europe, it looks like one of Arsenal, Manchester City or Manchester United will miss out on next season's competition.
Earlier this week, members of those three sides along with Chelsea and Liverpool met in a London hotel to reportedly discuss creating a European Super League. Those reports have since been denied.
The clubs met with businessman Stephen Ross. The American created the International Champions Cup, a pre-season tournament with takes place involving Europe's best sides in America, Australia and China.
Manchester United played PSG in the International Champions Cup last summer in Chicago. Picture by: Kamil Krzaczynski / AP/Press Association Images
Ross owns the company Relevant Sports, and it's chairman Charlie Stillitano has said that Leicester's entry into the Champions League will do no good for the tournament. He told the Press Association that the meeting involved "restructuring the Champions League", which may involve reserving guaranteed places for certain teams.
Stillitano claims that teams like Manchester United should qualify for the tournament, because the helped the tournament grow in it's early years. At the moment, United lie outside the qualification places in the Premier League.“What would Manchester United argue: did we create soccer or did Leicester create (it)? Let’s call it the money pot created by soccer and the fandom around the world. Who has had more of an integral role, Manchester United or Leicester? It’s a wonderful, wonderful story – but you could see it from Manchester United’s point of view, too.”
“What would Manchester United argue: did we create soccer or did Leicester create (it)? Let’s call it the money pot created by soccer and the fandom around the world. Who has had more of an integral role, Manchester United or Leicester? It’s a wonderful, wonderful story – but you could see it from Manchester United’s point of view, too.”
Whether Leicester City go on to win the Premier League or not, they look very likely to qualify for next season's Champions League. Claudio Ranieri's side play Watford on Saturday evening.