Wednesday 24 July 2013

On this day in 2003: Asia hosts Premier League

Looking back at Premier League history, we recall the staging of the League's first Asian tournament

  • Chelsea were awarded the 2003 trophy after winning the final on a penalty shoot-out

  • Devlin scores from the spot for Birmingham against Newcastle

  • Shearer gave the Malaysian crowd a glimpse of his renowned finishing skills

  • The locals were treated to Premier League-style matches full of intensity

Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.

On this day 24 July 2003 – Premier League holds its first sanctioned competitive match abroad

The Premier League Asia Cup was set up in a joint venture with Asian broadcaster ESPN Star Sports and was held for the first time in Kuala Lumpur, in the Bukit Jalil Stadium. The four-team tournament featured Chelsea, Newcastle United, Birmingham City and the Malyasian national team.

“You need to look five years before we went to Kuala Lumpur in 2003,” said Richard Scudamore, the Premier League Chief Executive, who has been to each tournament since Malaysia. “We embarked on a strategy of establishing more relationships internationally, when we started selling the international TV rights directly to broadcasters, rather than with agencies.

“The natural extension of that was that if we were going to try to have these more direct relations with broadcasters, we need to engage more directly with our fanbase in Asia.”

The first tournament kicked off on 24 July with Newcastle beating Birmingham 2-1, with goals from Alan Shearer and Shola Ameobi, while Paul Devlin scored for Birmingham. A day later Chelsea beat Malaysia 4-1 with Frank Lampard, Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Glen Johnson on the scoresheet. The two winning teams met in the final on 27 July, when Chelsea beat Newcastle in a penalty shootout after a goalless draw. The day before Birmingham had beaten Malaysia 4-0.

The success of the tournament meant that it became a biennial event sponsored by Barclays and renamed the Barclays Asia Trophy, with the latest edition taking in Hong Kong, where Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland have travelled over from England to join local champions South China to compete for silverware.

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Key Points

  • Premierleague.com looks back through the annals of history of the competition
  • A memorable event or match from each day of the year will be selected
  • We remember when the Premier League first hosted a tournament in Asia in 2003