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English Premier League's Tottenham Hotspur to play in China in May

By Angus McNeice in London | | Updated: 2017-05-09 00:21
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English top-flight soccer club Tottenham Hotspur will head to China on May 26 to face Hong Kong Premier League champions Kitchee SC in a post-season friendly at Hong Kong Stadium, according to a club statement on Monday.

The match will be played just five days after the North London club's final Premier League game of the 2016-17 campaign, against Hull City on May 21. Tottenham is currently second in the league, four points behind Chelsea, and is guaranteed a Champions League berth next season.

The visit will be Tottenham's third trip to China in the last nine years, following visits in 2009 and 2013.

Several other top British clubs are set to hold matches in China this summer. London clubs Chelsea and Arsenal will clash on July 22 at the 80,000-capacity Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing. Premier League clubs Liverpool, Leicester and West Bromwich Albion have all been invited to play in this summer's Premier League Asia Trophy in Hong Kong and Shanghai, with fixtures to be confirmed.

The showcase between Tottenham and Kitchee SC will form part of a program celebrating the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China in 1997.

Tottenham's manager Mauricio Pochettino said: "We are delighted to accept the invitation to return to Hong Kong to play against one of their top clubs, Kitchee SC, and play our part in the anniversary celebrations.

"We are aware of our growing popularity across Asia. This latest visit represents a great chance for us to engage with our loyal fans in the region and thank them for their fantastic support and the commitment they make to watching us at any hour of the day or night."

Tottenham has worked in recent years to increase its footprint in China. The club opened the Jaguar Football Campus in Guangzhou in 2016 and has so far offered training to more than 100 coaches and 60,000 students.

Tottenham has a "Chinese social hub" on its official website that provides access to its pages on Weibo and WeChat, and has produced livestream events from the club's home stadium, White Hart Lane, on Chinese social media.

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