Blues heading for China in summer
- Wed 29 Feb 2012, 10:00AM
- Posted by Chris Bailey
City will take on Arsenal in a pre-season friendly in Beijing’s ‘Bird’s Nest’ Stadium this summer.
The Premier League rivals will meet at the venue for the 2008 Olympic Games, on Friday 27 July, the day the 2012 Olympic Games begin in London.
The Blues have headed to the Far East before. There was a 1975/76 tour of Japan and South Korea and in 1996 City travelled to Tianjin in China where one game was played - the other two matches being called off due to flooding.
Indeed, this is City's third visit to China but the first to the city of Beijing. The club enjoyed enormously a pre-season tour to Shanghai under former boss Stuart Pearce with a team that included China playing legend Sun Jihai.
The game against the Gunners will be one of the showpieces of City’s 2012 summer campaign, following on from the last two years, when Roberto Mancini’s men have conducted successive tours of the United States of America.
Intrim Chief Executive Officer, John MacBeath, said: “This game will be a hugely exciting one for Manchester City. The ‘Bird’s Nest’ Stadium is a truly iconic world sporting stadium, and it will be a fitting venue to host a classic encounter between two of the English Premier League’s greatest clubs.
"It is clear that there is huge appetite for the Premier League in the Far East, and we are very much looking forward to taking our talented squad there to witness the excitement and put on a sporting spectacle for our fans in China."
The Gunners will be travelling to China for the second consecutive year, following their successful summer Asia tour in July 2011, in which the Club played matches in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Hangzhou, China.
Mr. Wang Shuyan (pictured above with Ian Cafferky, City's Chief Brand and Commercial Officer), President of the Match Promoter, BeijingWinoly International Sports Culture Co., Ltd added: "As part of our strategic growth plan, Winoly will bring the world's best football leagues and clubs to Asia. Our focus is on elite, authentic football. Arsenal v Manchester City will undoubtedly be the highest quality EPL match ever in China, and we are proud to play our part to host these two great clubs."
Chen Wei, Vice Secretary General of the Beijing Football Association said: "The BFA is looking forward to the Arsenal and Manchester City match at the Beijing National Stadium on the evening of the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London. We are committed to the continued growth of football in Beijing and pleased that these two top clubs will work with us to achieve our goals."
Arsenal Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis said: “Everyone at Arsenal is extremely excited to be visiting China again this year. We enjoy huge support in China and the match against Manchester City is sure to be an exciting spectacle, with many great players from both sides playing in front of thousands of supporters in the wonderful Bird’s Nest Stadium. It is also fitting that two English clubs are playing each other on the opening day of the London 2012 Olympics, in the stadium which hosted Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.”
More information regarding the rest of City’s 2012-13 pre-season schedule will be announced in due course, as will ticket details for the game in Beijing.