Liverpool heading for Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 February, 2007, 12:00am

Portsmouth and Fulham also lined up for summer event

Three English Premier League sides - Liverpool, Portsmouth and Fulham, are being tipped to play in the FA Premier League Asia Trophy 2007 in Hong Kong this summer.

The four-team tournament, which also features the domestic FA Cup winners, will be held at Hong Kong Stadium on July 24 and 27.

A source who has good connections with the EPL said FA Cup holders Liverpool, third in the EPL, Portsmouth (seventh) and Fulham (14th), have all been confirmed for the event, though there were some minor details to be ironed out between the Hong Kong Football Association and the EPL.

'It is almost a done deal,' the source said.

Other parties were more circumspect. Martin Lam Chun-ying, the secretary-general of the Hong Kong Football Association, refused to comment on the identities of the sides.

'I have been negotiating with the EPL for the last couple of weeks and we should be able to finalise the teams shortly. But at this stage we cannot confirm who they are, and a formal announcement will be made very soon,' said Lam.

A media officer from Fulham said last night they had yet to confirm their summer schedule, while there was no response from Liverpool or Portsmouth.

The English Premier League decided to take the pre-season Asia Trophy tournament to Hong Kong after earlier editions were held in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok in 2003 and 2005 respectively.

According to the rules, the English Premier League (EPL) teams will include one team from the top five, another from sixth to 10th place and a third from 11th to 15th. Liverpool, Portsmouth and Fulham meet that criteria.

A knock-out format will be adopted with two matches on the first day and a final and a third-placed match on the second day.

The Liverpool board yesterday recommended that shareholders accept a #470-million (HK$7.4 billion) takeover offer from American tycoons George Gillett and Tom Hicks. Gillett, who owns the National Hockey League's Montreal Canadiens, joined forces with Hicks, owner of the NHL's Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers baseball team, to trump rival bidders Dubai International Capital last week.

The expected takeover would lead to three top sides - Liverpool, Manchester United and Aston Villa - being in American hands.