The keenly contested Marine Challenge Cup (MCC) is heading back to London after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

Shipping’s premier five-a-side football get-together, featuring lawyers, protection and indemnity clubs and insurance brokers, was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 as Covid-19 gripped the globe.

Now a new sponsor group from the Americas has announced the competition’s return on 7 July.

The MCC has been a fixture in shipping’s sporting calendar for more than 20 years on the playing fields of Dulwich, south London.

The tournament grew under the guidance of former Chaffe McCall lawyer Dan Tadros to feature more than 20 teams.

The group stage and knock-out matches are followed by a barbecue and evening disco to round out a day of fun and camaraderie.

Now that Tadros has moved to the American Club, this year’s event is being organised by US and Panama law firms: Royston Rayzor; Palmer Biezup & Henderson; Keesal Young & Logan; Chaffe McCall; Hamilton, Miller & Birthisel; Freehill Hogan & Mahar; and De Castro & Robles.

“Initial responses with respect to the return of the Marine Challenge Cup have been strong, and the sponsors are optimistic that the upcoming event will be yet another successful day of sport and fellowship,” the sponsors told TradeWinds.

The tournament this year will have a special poignancy following the death in 2021 from cancer of long-time sponsor and skilled player Rick Whelan, a partner at Palmer Biezup & Henderson. He was 65.

In the lawyer’s honour, the annual recognition of the best footballer will be named the Rick Whelan Player of the Tournament award — “a fitting and lasting tribute to a man who was the man of the match in life’s matches, except one”, his teammates said.

Over the years, shipping professionals have come face to face with some top players — and TradeWinds staff.

Former England internationals Shaun Wright-Phillips and Robert Lee have been spotted there, and in 2018 the Chaffe McCall team was graced by former Mexico under-20s women’s captain Natalie Lagunas.

Sponsors in the past have included the law firm Horr, Novak & Skipp.