The Premier League Asia Trophy has returned to mainland China for the first time in a decade, with Manchester City, Newcastle United, West Ham United and Wolverhampton Wanderers taking part in matches in Nanjing on 17 July and Shanghai on 20 July.
The event will not only see elite athletes competing, but will also extend to local communities with a Premier Skills Under-12 Tournament taking place in Nanjing on 16 July, before the main tournament kicks-off.
Premier Skills is a partnership between the British Council and the Premier League, which uses football as a tool to develop a brighter future for young people around the world.
The Premier Skills Under-12 Cup will see four school teams comprising of girls and boys from Shanghai and Jiangsu, compete to win the opportunity to train and play with Premier League youth sides in the UK in the coming year.
The tournament, which will take place at the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, is jointly organised by the British Council, the Premier League, the Federation of University Sports of China (FUSC), the China School Sports Federation (CSSF), and is supported by the National Youth Campus Football Work Leading Group Office.
Each school team will represent one of the Premier League clubs competing in the Premier League Asia Trophy, with a club coach from each team assigned to them to provide a warm up session, support and mentoring. Chinese coach educators and Chinese referees trained through the Premier Skills programme will also assist the Under-12 teams involved in the tournament, whilst Premier League match officials will support and mentor the referees.
Premier Skills has helped young people – boys and girls alike – to develop critical soft skills like leadership, creativity and confidence, which they will take with them throughout their lives.
Jazreel Goh, Director of Education and Sport at the British Council in China, said: “Since 2009, when it first launched in China, Premier Skills has achieved huge impact, with training held across 25 Chinese cities. By 2020, we aim to train 5,000 coaches and referees in China, benefitting an estimated 5 million children and young people. Through this long-term commitment, we hope that Premier Skills will make a lasting contribution to growing grassroots football in China.”
Premier League Interim Chief Executive Richard Masters said: “The Premier League Asia Trophy 2019 not only offers fans in China the chance to watch four quality Premier League teams playing in two different cities, it also gives us the opportunity to reinforce our commitment to developing football in the country.
“Through the Premier Skills Under-12 tournament, local children from Nanjing will be able to learn a huge amount from Premier League coaches and I am sure they will be inspired by meeting players from two of our participating clubs.”
Barclays are providing all players and coaches involved in the Premier Skills U12 Tournament with tickets to the Premier League Asia Trophy matches in Nanjing, giving them the opportunity to enjoy the Premier League experience firsthand and see a world-class line-up of players and managers.