Wednesday 24 July 2013
Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.
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.