Premier League Asia Trophy bound for Hong Kong
The biennial Premier League Asia Trophy, which was last hosted by Singapore, will be heading to Hong Kong this year, said a South China Morning Post report on Monday.
Liverpool, Southampton, Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG and a Hong Kong side will take part in the tournament on July 20 and 22, with Shanghai set to host one of the match days.
"The Singapore Sports Hub hosted a very successful Barclays Asia Trophy in 2015, and we are honoured by the kind words from the Premier League's executive chairman (Richard Scudamore) about the tournament held at the National Stadium then," said Sports Hub's senior director for corporate communications and stakeholder management Chin Sau Ho.
"We would be delighted to host the tournament again, should the opportunity arise."
He pointed out that the Sports Hub will host events such as Super Rugby matches, the HSBC Singapore Sevens and a Coldplay concert, among others in the first half of the year.
Chin said: "We are in constant contact with event owners and promoters internationally, to present more quality events."
Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) chief executive Mark Sutcliffe told SCMP that there were discussions between HKFA and EPL in "the last few months, and an agreement in principle has been reached".
"Final arrangements can't be confirmed yet because the EPL are also in discussion with the mainland authorities regarding one of the match days being held in China," he added. "We understand these discussions are also at an advanced stage and an announcement is expected within the next few weeks."
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp recently told the Liverpool Echo that the Reds will travel to Asia for their pre-season tour. The German said: "There are also a lot of Liverpool fans in the US so it made sense that we went there (last year).
"Like it makes sense that in 2017 we go to Asia. I have no problem with this."
Singapore hosted the last edition of the Premier League Asia Trophy in 2015, which saw a combined attendance of 82,000 spectators over two match days at the National Stadium.
In an interview with local media then, Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore said: "Singapore has helped us put on our best-ever Barclays Asia Trophy and given us every reason to seriously consider returning in the near future."
However, it is believed that the Premiership is swayed by China's big push in football in recent years.
Chinese Premier Xi Jinping is known to be a big football fan and is keen to turn his country into a footballing superpower.
While the departure of the Asia Trophy will be a big loss for EPL fans here, another top-tier tournament may yet make its way to the Sports Hub this year.
Previous media reports said that negotiations are underway to bring the International Champions Cup to Singapore.