Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Chelsea calls off Asian tour because of injuries

English Premier League club Chelsea has called off its proposed May tour of Asia because of a spate of injuries. The club had discussed holding matches in Singapore, South Korea and China during the week of the UEFA Champions League final after losing to Liverpool in the semifinals. "It's off,'' club spokesman Bruce Buck told Grant Clark of Bloomberg. "We just have too many injuries at the moment.''

Chelsea faces Manchester United in the English FA Cup final in four days at the new Wembley stadium in London, with coach Jose Mourinho saying he has just 15 fit players. Michael Ballack, Arjen Robben and Andriy Shevchenko are among the sidelined stars in football's most expensive squad.

Unlike Manchester United's controversial commercial tour in Asia during the Asian Football Confederation's prestigious Asian Cup in July, Chelsea works closely with the continental body. "The London club has become a leader in taking a responsible approach in Asia," AFC President Mohamad Bin Hammam today told a Beijing conference by video. "Our relationship sets the example for other clubs to follow."

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