Top UK sides battle in HK
By Judy Ngao
English Premier League sides Liverpool, Portsmouth and Fulham will compete for the Barclays Asia Trophy in Hong Kong this summer.
The four-team tournament, which will also feature FA Cup champions South China, will be played on a knockout format. There will be a final and a play-off to decide third place.
All matches will take place on July 24 and 27 at the 40,000-capacity Hong Kong Stadium. They will be officiated by Barclays Premier League referees and adhere to the league's rules.
Representatives from the three English teams will also take part in a community day. It will involve coaching students as part of the now TV youth development programme, which is being run by the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) during the summer. In addition, there will be a lecture by the Premier League referees.
'The Barclays Premier League has a fantastic following across East Asia, and nowhere more so than in Hong Kong,' said Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the Premier League.
'This is a great opportunity for those fans that follow our competition week-in, week-out to experience what a Barclays Premier League game is like in the flesh.
'We have three fantastic clubs who will be putting out strong teams and aiming to win this increasingly prestigious trophy. I am sure that Hong Kong FA Cup winners South China will be determined to compete.'
HKFA chairman, Martin Hong, is excited that the tournament is being held in Hong Kong. 'We have had Barclays Premiership clubs playing exhibition matches in Hong Kong for years, and this will be the first time that a genuine Premier League tournament is organised in town,' he said.
'The local football fans will be treated to a high-quality and competitive tournament.'
This is the third Premier League tournament to be held in Asia, after Malaysia (2003) and Thailand (2005). Barclays is, for the first time, the title sponsor of the Asia Trophy.
Tickets for the matches will go on sale from early next month and will be available at the Hong Kong Stadium.
Ticket prices are HK$100 (senior citizens and students), HK$150, HK$200, HK$250 and HK$350.