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City to return to Hong Kong for u21 tournament

City u21s are set to return to Hong Kong to compete in the 2014 HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens.

Chelsea, Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Sunderland and Rangers have also accepted the invitation, together with 2013 champions, Leicester City.

Last year, the Blues fielded the youngest squad in the competition and were knocked out in the Cup quarter-finals by Rangers, and were unlucky to lose out to a late Aston Villa goal in the Shield final.

The 15th edition of the tournament will be held from May 23-25 at Hong Kong Football Club, host venue since the inaugural event in 1999.

Most of the British clubs will be fielding players between the ages of 17 to 21 as they bid to win a tournament that each year features future Premier League and international stars. Aston Villa have won the event a record five times.

Head of Academy, Mark Allen, said the Blues are looking forward to building on their debut last year.

“I thought it was a fantastic experience. It was well organised and well coordinated, and equivalent to any top tournament I’ve been to. It was a pleasant surprise that it was so well organised,” Allen said.

“I thought the format was fantastic and it was also great from the development perspective as well. We’re all really looking forward to coming back.”

Weber Lo, Citi Country Officer and Chief Executive Officer, Hong Kong and Macau, said the confirmation of seven leading British clubs signalled the tournament’s growing reputation.

“We’re delighted that Leicester City are back to defend their title at the HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens as we also welcome back Manchester City, Chelsea, Rangers, Sunderland and former champions Aston Villa and Newcastle,” Lo said.

“It’s exciting to announce seven such major clubs so early and it’s recognition of the tournament’s world-class reputation that these teams keep returning to Hong Kong Football Club. Citibank is proud to title sponsor such an international tournament in Asia for the fourth year, and we look forward to another great and exciting tournament this May.”

The remaining sides in the 16-team Main competition and the line-up of the 12-team Masters competition will be announced soon, while ticket details will be announced in April.

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