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Football: Five English clubs to compete at Citibank Soccer Sevens

Newcastle United will seek a second Soccer Sevens title from May 29-31. Photos: Power Sport Images for HKFC.

Newcastle United will seek a second Soccer Sevens title from May 29-31. Photos: Power Sport Images for HKFC.

March 30, 2015: Stoke City will make their tournament debut at the HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens from May 29-31, when ‘The Potters’ will be one of five English Premier League clubs participating at Hong Kong Football Club.

 

West Ham United, boasting one of England’s most successful academies, will compete for the first time since 2012, while five-time champions Aston Villa and recent winners Newcastle United and Leicester City return from last year’s 16-team Main competition.

 

Villa (2011), Newcastle (2012) and Leicester (2013) have won three of the last four editions of the international seven-a-side-tournament, which each year includes youth teams from Premier League clubs.

 

Tony Bratsanos, Chairman of the HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens Organising Committee, said: “The HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens has always had a strong presence from the Premier League, so we’re delighted that Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Leicester City are continuing their participation and will be bidding to lift the Cup again.

 

“We’re excited that West Ham will be coming back after a brief break, as they were a very popular side when they played here, and we’re also proud that we were able to secure Stoke City for their tournament debut. Stoke are enjoying a fine season and will be a welcome addition to the Main competition.”

 

Five-time champions Aston Villa (left) are among five English clubs competing at Hong Kong Football Club.

Five-time champions Aston Villa are among five English clubs competing at Hong Kong Football Club.

English clubs have won 10 of the 15 editions of the tournament since its inauguration in 1999. Aston Villa have won a record five times (2002, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010), while Blackburn Rovers (1999), Arsenal (2001), Newcastle (2012), Leicester (2013) and Manchester City (2014) are the other English clubs to have lifted the Cup.

 

Citibank has title sponsored the event since 2011. Weber Lo, Citi Country Officer and Chief Executive Officer, Hong Kong and Macau, said: “We are proud to be the title sponsor of this prestigious soccer tournament once again this year.

 

“I am excited to again see a strong English Premier League presence at the HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens. Each year, the tournament features both returning and new teams, which always keeps the line-up interesting.”

 

Hong Kong clubs Kitchee (2011) and Instant Dict (2000), Japan’s Urawa Reds (2005, 2006) and Scottish giants Celtic (2009) are the tournament’s only non-English champions.

 

The remaining sides in this year’s 16-team Main competition and teams competing in the over-35 Masters tournament will be confirmed soon.

 

Future stars who have competed in the Main competition include Gabby Agbonlahor, Glen Johnson, Marc Albrighton, David Bentley, Anton Ferdinand, Sammy Ameobi, Shaun Maloney, Jack Grealish and Rolando Aarons.

 

The Masters tournament has featured former England internationals Peter Beardsley, John Barnes, Chris Waddle, Teddy Sheringham, Des Walker, Andy Cole and Matt Le Tissier, German legends Jurgen Klinsmann and Pierre Littbarski, Finnish icon Jari Litmanen, Dutch great Aron Winter and former France winger Didier Six.

 

Source: HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens (www.hksoccersevens.com); Editing by SportAsia

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