Premier League Asia Trophy

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Premier League Asia Trophy
A coloured photograph of the Chelsea squad standing on a podium, celebrating their second Premier League Asia Trophy win.
Chelsea celebrate with the tournament cup after winning the 2011 Premier League Asia Trophy.
Founded 2003
Region AFC (Asia)
Number of teams 4
Current champions Arsenal (1st title)
Most successful club(s) Chelsea (2 titles)

The Premier League Asia Trophy (formerly the FA Premier League Asia Cup[1][2]) is a pre-season association football friendly tournament held every two years in Asia. The two-day competition was inaugurated in 2003 and is "the only Premier League-affiliated competition" to be hosted outside England.[3][4] It has taken place every other summer since then in order to avoid conflicting with the FIFA World Cup and the UEFA European Championship.[5] For sponsorship purposes, it is referred to as the Barclays Asia Trophy.[6][7]

The competition features three clubs that are members of the Premier League,[A] as well as a local team from the host country. It employs a knockout system in which the winners of the first matches advance to the final, while the losing teams take part in a third place playoff.[4][9] The tournament format will be partly modified for the 2017 edition, with no local team participating after the withdrawal of Shanghai SIPG.[10] A fourth Premier League club – Crystal Palace – agreed to take their place having avoided relegation and will play alongside Liverpool, Leicester City, and West Bromwich Albion.[10] This will mark the first time the tournament has featured teams solely from the Premier League.[11][12]

Chelsea won the inaugural tournament in 2003, and finished victorious again in 2011. Five other sides have won the Premier League Asia Trophy: Bolton Wanderers in 2005, Portsmouth in 2007, Tottenham Hotspur in 2009, Manchester City in 2013, and Arsenal in 2015. Chelsea, Tottenham, Man City, Everton, and South China are the most regular participants, having each contested the tournament on two occasions. Thailand's under-23 national team are the only local Asian side to advance to the finals of the contest. Hong Kong has hosted the tournament three times, more than any other city, and will be hosting the 2017 competition.

History[edit]

The FA Premier League Asia Cup, as it was originally known, was first organised in March 2003 by ESPN STAR Sports and formally announced by the league's chairman, Dave Richards.[13] It was established as a result of "the increasing popularity of the Premier League in the continent".[5] Asia and Oceania accounted for the league's largest audience during the 2013–14 season with 339.5 million viewers. Moreover, China (52%), India (49%), and Thailand (47%) had "the largest broadcast penetration" among international markets after Nigeria.[14] With the contest scheduled to take place three weeks before the start of the league season, it is intended to serve as the last warm-up event for participating teams before they embark on competitive football.[13]

The inaugural tournament took place between 24 July and 27 July 2003,[15] with Chelsea, Newcastle United, Birmingham City, and Malaysia taking part.[16] The final saw 47,500 people filling the Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.[17] Chelsea won the first tournament, edging Newcastle 5–4 in a penalty shootout that went to sudden death after a goalless draw at full time.[1][17] Two years later Bolton Wanderers made an appearance alongside Everton, Manchester City, and the Thai under-23 national team, and defeated the local side 1–0 in the final, courtesy of a late penalty by El Hadji Diouf.[18]

A near-capacity crowd watch Liverpool play South China on the first day of the pre-season tournament.
Liverpool facing South China in 2007 at the Hong Kong Stadium, which also hosted the 2011 and 2013 editions of the tournament and will host the 2017 one.

The 2007 edition was held in Hong Kong, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the city's transfer of sovereignty from the United Kingdom to China.[19] It was the first event to feature Barclays as the title sponsor.[20][21] The title match was an upset in which Portsmouth held Liverpool to a goalless draw, before their goalkeeper David James saved two spot kicks in the ensuing penalty shootout that ended 4–2 in Portsmouth's favour.[22][23] Despite the fact that the Premier League Asia Trophy was sold out for the first time in its history,[24] the right to host the 2009 competition was awarded to Beijing.[25] The attendance for that contest, however, was underwhelming, with only 10,000 people present for the final at the 66,000-capacity Workers' Stadium,[26] where Tottenham Hotspur beat Hull City 3–0 thanks to a brace from Robbie Keane.[27]

The next two tournaments saw the Premier League Asia Trophy return to Hong Kong. In 2011, Chelsea participated in the competition a second time,[28] and regained the trophy by triumphing 2–0 against Aston Villa before a capacity crowd at the Hong Kong Stadium.[7] Manchester City won the 2013 event,[29] which was overshadowed by heavy rain causing the semifinal matches to be abbreviated to 80 minutes and leading to the degradation of the stadium's playing surface.[30][31] The quality of the pitch was universally lambasted,[32] especially after several players were consequently injured while playing on it.[29][31][33]

The 2015 edition was hosted by Singapore to honour the city-state's 50th anniversary of independence from Malaysia.[34][35] Arsenal claimed their first Premier League Asia Trophy, routing the host country's Select XI side 4–0 behind a Chuba Akpom hat-trick,[36] before defeating Everton 3–1 in the final. The event saw tournament attendance records broken for most people at a single match day (52,107) and the largest cumulative attendance across the two days (just short of 82,000).[6][37]

The 2017 event will feature Liverpool, Leicester City, West Bromwich Albion, and Crystal Palace.[10] Due to the success of the Asia Trophy, the Premier League has considered establishing similar competitions in other continents to broaden their global presence. Richard Scudamore, the league's executive chairman, envisions Africa and the United States to be likely locations for such tournaments.[38][39]

Tournaments[edit]

Key
Team (X) Name of the team and number of times they had finished in the position at that point (if more than one)
double-dagger Denotes the local team from the host country
Premier League Asia Trophy tournaments
Edition Year Winner Runner-up Third Fourth Venue Ref(s)
1 2003 Chelsea Newcastle United Birmingham City Malaysiadouble-dagger Bukit Jalil National Stadium (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) [1][40]
2 2005 Bolton Wanderers Thailand U23double-dagger Manchester City Everton Rajamangala Stadium (Bangkok, Thailand) [18]
3 2007 Portsmouth Liverpool Fulham South Chinadouble-dagger Hong Kong Stadium
(Hong Kong)
[22][41]
4 2009 Tottenham Hotspur Hull City West Ham United Beijing Guoandouble-dagger Workers' Stadium
(Beijing, China)
[27][42]
5 2011 Chelsea (2) Aston Villa Blackburn Rovers Kitcheedouble-dagger Hong Kong Stadium
(Hong Kong)
[7]
6 2013 Manchester City Sunderland Tottenham Hotspur South Chinadouble-dagger (2) Hong Kong Stadium
(Hong Kong)
[29][43]
7 2015 Arsenal Everton Stoke City Singapore Select XIdouble-dagger National Stadium (Singapore) [44]
8 2017 TBD TBD TBD TBD Hong Kong Stadium
(Hong Kong)
[12]

Performance by team[edit]

Aston Villa and Chelsea players line up on the pitch ahead of the 2011 final.
Aston Villa and Chelsea contested the 2011 final, with the latter prevailing 2–0.[7]
Theo Walcott dribbles past Gareth Barry and James McCarthy at the National Stadium in Singapore.
Gareth Barry (left) and James McCarthy (right) featured in the 2015 edition of the Premier League Asia Trophy for Everton, while Theo Walcott (centre) did so for Arsenal.
Team Winner Runner-up Third Fourth Total
Chelsea 2 &
&
&
2
Tottenham Hotspur 1 &
1 &
2
Manchester City 1 &
1 &
2
Bolton Wanderers 1 &
&
&
1
Portsmouth 1 &
&
&
1
Arsenal 1 &
&
&
1
Everton &
1 &
1 2
Newcastle United &
1 &
&
1
Thailand U23 &
1 &
&
1
Liverpool &
1 &
&
1
Hull City &
1 &
&
1
Aston Villa &
1 &
&
1
Sunderland &
1 &
&
1
Birmingham City &
&
1 &
1
Fulham &
&
1 &
1
West Ham United &
&
1 &
1
Blackburn Rovers &
&
1 &
1
Stoke City &
&
1 &
1
South China &
&
&
2 2
Malaysia &
&
&
1 1
Beijing Guoan &
&
&
1 1
Kitchee &
&
&
1 1
Singapore Select XI &
&
&
1 1

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The three clubs are selected according to their position in the league table. One of the teams selected achieved the top five, the other team finished in sixth to tenth place, while the final team placed eleventh to fifteenth.[8]

References[edit]

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  5. ^ a b Thomas, Phil (14 July 2015). "What Is The Asia Trophy?". Everton Football Club. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2017. 
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