Thursday, May 10, 2007

Barclays Asian Trophy clash with AFC Asian Cup

It is true that the news that the third edition of the English FA Premier League's Asian Trophy will be played in Hong Kong during the Asian Football Confederation's prestigious Asian Cup (7-29 July) came us as surprise to Asian Football Business Review. We'd previous reported the promotional tournament to be scheduled for the week before the Asian Cup began or in August, after its conclusion. Instead, the series is confirmed to be played on days either side of the Asian Cup's critical Semi-Finals finals which may feature top East Asian nations Japan, South Korea and China and AFC newcomer Australia.

The Premier League said the first round of its made-for-television, rebadged Barclays Asian Trophy will be played as a double-header at the 40,000-seat Hong Kong Stadium on 24 July with Portsmouth playing Fulham followed by Liverpool against the Hong Kong Football Association Cup winner. The final will be played on 27 July. Two broadcasters have been so far announced: all matches will be screened in Hong Kong by NOW TV and in the UK by Sky Sports.

"We know that we have a lot of fans in Hong Kong and are looking forward to playing in front of them again," Liverpool Manager Rafael Benitez said.

"We are delighted to be able to take part in this prestigious competition, and look forward to completing our pre-season preparations on a high,” David McNally, Managing Director of Fulham, said.

"We are very much looking forward to play in the Barclays Asia Trophy and playing two competitive matches so close to the start of the new season will play a big part in our pre-season preparation. Hong Kong is a beautiful part of the world and I'm sure the players will revel in the surroundings," Portsmouth Manager, Harry Redknapp said

“The Barclays Premiership has a fantastic following across East Asia, and nowhere more so than in Hong Kong. This is a great opportunity for those fans who follow our competition week in week out to experience what a Barclays Premiership game is like in the flesh," Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said.

"Hong Kong is one of the financial hubs of Asia where we have a growing presence so we are delighted to be sponsoring this tournament for the first time. The Barclays Asia Trophy will give us a powerful brand visibility and the chance to engage with football fans outside the UK," said Barclays President, Robert E. Diamond Jr.

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