Thursday, January 15, 2009


MACAU, Jan 14 (Bernama) -- Despite a bad experience in 2007 when Manchester United's friendly match against Malaysia was cancelled due to a clash of dates with an Asian Football Confederation (AFC)-organised tournament, the English club will be back in Malaysia to play the national team during their Asian Tour in July.

According to Manchester United chief executive officer David Gill, the team would play four matches during their Far East tour, namely in China, South Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia.

"Our tour to Asia is always special. The atmosphere generated by the supporters is amazing. Asia is also a vital part of our commercial growth and close to half of the club's over 300 million fans are in Asia and the figure continues to grow," said Gill, announcing details of the Asian Tour, here, today.

"This year, we have added a new destination, Jakarta in Indonesia where we have an estimated 12 million fans. These matches will give fans an opportunity to see their heroes in action in their own countries," he said, adding that all the team's players, including FIFA Footballer of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo, would be on the Tour.

"We are not going to leave any player behind and we want every player to be in top physical condition as the tour will be our final preparation before the English Premier League kicks off," he said.

Meanwhile, ProEvents chairman Paul J. Kam said the tentative dates for the tour are July 16 (China), July 20 (South Korea), July 24 (Jakarta) and July 26 (Kuala Lumpur).

"In 2007, we had to cancel the match since it clashed with the Asian Cup tournament organised by the AFC but this time around we have ensured such things will not recur," said Kam.

"We are very pleased and excited to welcome Manchester United to Asia and fans will be able to see the newly crowned World Club champions play here."

Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson who spoke through tele-conferencing said: "The players are really looking forward to our Asian Tour. For some, the Club World Cup in Japan was the first time they had experienced the passion generated by the club in Asia and they enjoyed it immensely.

"We know we will get terrific support at all the locations identified for the matches. Indonesia will be a new experience for us and one I'm especially looking forward to as it is also my first trip there."



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