Blatter helps out HK showpiece

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 May, 2007, 12:00am

Fifa chief Sepp Blatter has stepped in to help revamp the Reunification exhibition event on July 1, ensuring a top-grade World All Stars XI will also take part.

The move became necessary because of fears the only confirmed sides, German heavyweights Bayern Munich and the China national team, would not have the crowd-pulling power the prestigious event at Hong Kong Stadium deserved.

Hong Kong sports supremo Timothy Fok Tsun-ting met Blatter (pictured) in Kuala Lumpur during this week's Asian Football Confederation Congress and persuaded him to act.

'We are happy to learn that Fifa are willing to put together a World All Stars team for the Reunification Cup,' said Fok. 'It is a good news for local soccer fans.'

With the confirmation of the All Stars team, the original cup schedule has been changed.

It is understood organisers are in the final stages of securing Brazilian side Sao Paolo to play Bayern Munich in one match, with the All Stars taking on China in a second match also on July 1.

The winners of the two matches would share honours in the exhibition event being held to celebrate 10 years since the 1997 handover of Hong Kong from Britain to the mainland. The All Stars team have yet to be finalised. Bayern meanwhile, do not enjoy a high profile in Asia, and have had a relatively poor run in the Bundesliga, languishing in fourth position with no hope of playing in the European Champions League next season.