Chelsea Football Club today (Tuesday, June 10) confirmed their second match in China this summer. The fixture will take place in Macau against the Chinese Super League team,the Chengdu Blades, on July 26.
The Windor Arch-Macau International Football Challenge will be Chelsea FC’s second ever game in China, following the opening match of the Samsung/Chelsea Asia Tour 2008 in Guangzhou on July 23. The tour finishes in Kuala Lumpur on July 29 against a Malaysian Select XI.
The Macau game takes on an added significance because of the opposition. The city of Chengdu in the province of Sichuan was very seriously damaged by the recent Chinese earthquake. There will be a series of events around the game to raise awareness and money for the earthquake relief effort.
Chengdu is also well known to Chelsea officials as it is one of the cities in the Vision China grass roots project which the club is a partner in with the Asian Football Confederation.
Chelsea Chief Executive Peter Kenyon said: “We are very happy to play this game in Macau as it has particular significance for us with our connections to Chengdu via the Vision China programme. “We did look at playing a game in Chengdu, and now for very obvious and tragic reasons, that will not be possible. But we are delighted to assist in raising awareness for the earthquake relief effort as well as having excellent opposition to help prepare for the new season. “We would like to thank our sponsors for the game, Windsor Arch, the Macau Sport Development Board and the Macau Football Association.” Chelsea has built a number of significant relationships in China and Asia recently.
Last year it became the Official Football Development Partner of the AFC’s Vision China grass roots project, part of their larger Vision Asia programme.
So far Chelsea has helped launch five of the planned 10 Vision China city leagues, in Nanjing, Wuhan, Qingdao, Zibo and Chengdu.
Chelsea and the Chinese FA have worked closely together before and the club hosted the Chinese Olympic football team for a two week training camp in the winter of 2007. In addition Chelsea has become the exclusive football club partner of a grass roots talent search in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, where Guangzhou is the capital. The Super Soccer Star television was broadcast during the spring in the province of Guangdong and the four finalists recently visited Chelsea’s world renowned Academy and Stamford Bridge.
The club is also a sponsor of the International Football Arena Beijing, the leading independent forum for debate amongst the game’s leading figures which took place last month in the Chinese capital for the second successive year.
The tour will be the first time Chelsea has played in Asia since May 2005 when the opponents were the Suwon Bluewings, the K League team owned by sponsors Samsung. Chelsea also took part in the FA Premier League Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur in the summer of 2003.
Chelsea has also announced our participation in the pre-season tournament, the Railways Cup, in Moscow between August 1st and 3rd with Lokomotiv Moscow, AC Milan and Sevilla.