Beijing gets nod ahead of HK for Asia Trophy

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 January, 2009, 12:00am

Hong Kong's hopes of staging the Barclays Asia Trophy for the second consecutive time were dashed yesterday after Beijing was given the go-ahead to host the popular event.

Liverpool, Fulham and Portsmouth along with Hong Kong side South China competed in the 2007 edition of the tournament, which saw a packed house over two days at Hong Kong Stadium.

Pompey won the tournament, beating Liverpool 4-2 in a penalty shootout.

The 2009 version of the biennial event would likely feature Chelsea, Hull City, West Bromwich Albion and a team from the Chinese Super League this summer, sources said. The matches will take place at Workers' Stadium in the capital.

Hong Kong Football Association chairman Brian Leung Hung-tak said the decision was expected.

'The EPL agreed we had a very successful Asia Trophy two years ago, but we knew the chances of hosting the tournament again were slim. The EPL wants to promote the Asia Trophy to every corner of the continent,' said Leung. 'China has one of the strongest economies in the world and has never hosted the Asia Trophy. Any league in the world would want to get a foothold there.'

Since its inauguration in 2003, the Asia Trophy has been held in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Hong Kong.

The Premier League selects its teams according to the final standings - one from the top five, another from sixth to 10th place and a third from the rest.

With Manchester United already having confirmed a tour of Asia this summer, Chelsea would be a likely pick, especially as Liverpool visited Hong Kong two years ago.

Making their Premier League debut this season, Hull have surprised many with their performance. They are ninth in the standings with their most notable victory so far a 2-1 win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in September.

West Brom are at the bottom of the standings, but equal on points (21) with four other sides - Stoke, Middlesbrough, Blackburn and Tottenham.