Top teams for 7's showpiece
A seven-a-side tournament will light up the local football scene next month.
The annual Philips Lighting International Soccer 7's will be held at the Hong Kong Football Club (HKFC) from May 25-27.
There will be two competitions - the Philips Lighting Main Tournament and the Philips Lighting Masters - in the eighth edition of the Soccer 7's this year.
In each event, 16 teams will be divided into four groups of four for the preliminary rounds which will take place on May 25-26. Day three will see each tournament split into two knockout competitions.
The group leaders and second-placed teams will qualify for the quarter-finals of the Cup Championships in both the Main and Masters events. The third- and fourth-placed teams in each group will qualify for the Plate Championships.
This year's competition will have the strongest representation at both local and international levels in the history of the Soccer 7's.
'It's our honour to have the support of so many quality local and international teams this year,' Tony Bratsanos, chairman of the Soccer 7's Committee, said.
'With a total of 19 international and 13 Hong Kong-based teams, in terms of quality, this year will definitely have the strongest competition in Soccer 7's history.'
Local giants South China, who have won more honours than any other professional football club in Hong Kong, will make their debut in the Main tournament.
Among the Hong Kong-bound international teams are two-time champions (2005 and 2006) Urawa Red Diamonds of Japan's J-League, newcomers Tottenham Hotspur, English and Scottish Premiership superpowers Arsenal, Aston Villa and Glasgow Celtic, Dutch First Division leaders PSV Eindhoven, as well as the South African champions Kaizer Chiefs, who surprisingly defeated Manchester United and Glasgow Celtic in last year's event.
The tournament is organised by the HKFC and sponsored by Philips.