Wednesday 06 March 2013
The line-up and location for the next Barclays Asia Trophy have been announced with Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Sunderland and South China competing in Hong Kong in July 2013.
The announcement by the Premier League, the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) and Barclays was made today for the biennial tournament that has become an established part of the Premier League’s fixture calendar.
The Barclays Asia Trophy is the only Premier League-affiliated competition to be held outside England and this year will be the sixth tournament, the others having been held in Kuala Lumpur (2003), Bangkok (2005), Hong Kong (2007 and 2011) and Beijing (2009).
"We are bringing to the Barclays Asia Trophy Hong Kong our strongest ever line-up of teams"
The four-team knockout tournament will take place over two match-days on Wednesday 24 and Saturday 27 July 2013, with a final to determine the winner and a play-off for third place. All matches will take place in Hong Kong Stadium and will be officiated by match officials from the Barclays Premier League and HKFA, as well as being staged in accordance with Barclays Premier League Rules.
“We are hugely excited at the Premier League to be bringing the Barclays Asia Trophy back to Hong Kong for a third time,” said Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore. “The 2011 tournament was, without doubt, our most successful to date and the atmosphere inside the Hong Kong Stadium on both nights was particularly memorable.
“We are bringing to the Barclays Asia Trophy Hong Kong our strongest ever line-up of teams. They are clubs of outstanding pedigree and history who represent the best of the Barclays Premier League: they have some of the world’s best footballers, they are winners and they also have many fans in Hong Kong that they are looking forward to entertaining.”
Roberto Mancini, who will be looking to go to Hong Kong as defending champions, called the competition a “fantastic challenge”. He said: “It gives us the opportunity to showcase the club’s footballing talent to our supporters in Hong Kong, which is such a vibrant venue to host a high-quality tournament like this.”
Tottenham won the tournament the last time they took part in 2009. “Over recent years we have seen a significant increase in our fan base across Asia and this tournament provides us with an excellent opportunity to give something back to our supporters in Hong Kong and China,” head coach Andre Villas-Boas said.
"Hong Kong, which is such a vibrant venue to host a high-quality tournament like this"
Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill is looking forward to taking his team to the region. “Hong Kong’s reputation as a brilliant venue is growing and we are looking forward to competing against such very strong opposition on our Barclays Asia Trophy debut,” he said.
South China are the most decorated side in the history of Hong Kong First football. “It is South China’s, and Hong Kong’s honour to have the Barclays Asia Trophy held again in our city this summer,” chairman Steven Lo said. “It is perfect exciting news for all keen football fans here and we are all so much looking forward to the tournament.”
As well as the competition, the Premier League will be working hard off the pitch to promote the game in the region. It has committed to a full programme of “Creating Chances” activities, including coaching initiatives, refereeing schemes and community schemes to run alongside the Barclays Asia Trophy.
Fans will be able to keep up to date with the latest news on the Barclays Asia Trophy 2013 through the Premier League’s Facebook page, which is also available in Cantonese.
Barclays is the title sponsor of the Asia Trophy for the fourth time and the competition’s commercial partners are Nike, EA Sports, Carlsberg, Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Now TV.
"Hong Kong is one of our regional hubs, so we are delighted that the Barclays Asia Trophy is returning to Hong Kong for a third time," Robert Morrice, Chairman and CEO, Barclays Asia, said.