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Manchester City and Sunderland on Soccer Sevens Collision Course

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos Thursday, 18 April 2013
 

Premier League champions Manchester City will find Sunderland barring the way when they make their debut in next months HKFC Citibank International Soccer Sevens.

City, one of four top seeds in the main section of the tournament, were put on a collision course with their English rivals in Group A when the draw was held at Hong Kong Football Club on Wednesday, 17 April.

Soccer Sevens champions Newcastle United will face Championship side Leicester City in Group B while Scottish giants Rangers will need to overcome Hong Kongs soon-to-be-decided First Division champions, most likely South China, in Group C.

Aston Villa, five-time winners of the Soccer Sevens, will be favourites to top Group D but will need to overcome two other Hong Kong First Division clubs along the way.

It promises to be another thrilling tournament, said Soccer Sevens chairman, Tony Bratsanos. The top four seeds City, Newcastle, Rangers and Villa are all renowned for their excellent academies and they will be sending outstanding young footballers to compete here ... While City would look to have the toughest draw, given that Sunderland reached the semi-finals here last year, we know the Hong Kong First Division clubs will be competitive. Weve seen a few shocks at the Soccer Sevens before, including Hong Kongs Kitchee beating Celtic to win the tournament two years ago, so we expect all four groups to be closely contested.

The Hong Kong Football Association has demonstrated its support for the tournament by confirming that four First Division teams, plus an age-group representative team, the HKFA Dragons, will take part. The First Division teams were named as HKFA 1-4 for the purposes of the draw with the numbers corresponding to their final league positions when the season finishes in the coming weeks.

In the Masters competition, the draw brought a mouth-watering Group C clash between defending champions AEGON Ajax All Stars who will have 84-cap former Holland ace Aron Winter in their ranks and the Rangers All Stars.

The 2013 HKFC Citibank International Soccer Sevens will be held at Hong Kong Football Club from 24-26 May.

The tournament has earned a reputation as one of the worlds best seven-a-side competitions where fans can see the stars of tomorrow and legends of the game in one exciting event.

The Main draw features youth and academy teams from some of the top clubs in Europe playing against more senior players from leagues around Asia. The Masters category, meanwhile, is for players aged 35 and over.

This is our third consecutive year sponsoring the Soccer Sevens and I am very happy to bring this important sports event to Hong Kongs soccer-loving public again, said Weber Lo, Citi Country Officer and Chief Executive Officer, Hong Kong and Macau. Citi is committed to making a positive contribution to the community in which we serve, and upholds a philosophy of bringing the best and only the best to the Hong Kong people.

As part of its commitment to giving back to the community, Citi will organise a charity lunch for 20 underprivileged families on the last day of the Soccer Sevens, so that these families can also have the opportunity to enjoy the excitement of the tournament.

The families, primarily participants under the Hope Development Accounts (HDA) programme, are from Tin Shui Wai and Yuen Long and will be invited through Citis non-profit partner, Tung Wah Group of Hospitals (TWGHs).

HDA, jointly run by Citi and TWGHs, aims to alleviate the poverty of low-income families through helping them build assets by a matched savings programme, vocational and financial management training and mentorship over a two-year period.

All spectators will be allowed into the Soccer Sevens for free on Friday, 24 May, while all children under the age of 16 will be admitted free of charge throughout the tournament.

Tickets for Saturday, 25 May and Sunday, 26 May cost HK$160 per day or HK$300 for a weekend pass.

Hong Kong, Soccer, Football, Sevens, Sunderland, Manchester City

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