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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Updated: How Did QPR Get to Play (Chelsea's) China...Why Wasn't It Announced?

With all the uproar over what occurred at the training ground game between QPR and Team China, it's still not clear how and why QPR were playing Team China in the first place. How did China settle on QPR? Did Chelsea request or offer to QPR the opportunity to play China. Additionally, it's not at all clear why QPR did not publicize this game/scrimmage and if anything appeared to leave the impression that QPR were not playing China.
What is known is that in early January, Chelsea and China announced that the Team China would be coming over to England to train at Chelsea. This was viewed as part of Chelsea's "outreach" to China as part of their effort to become one of the World's Premier teams. (See the two releases below). And the Chelsea announcement did say "...Chelsea will also be arranging friendly matches for Team China."

News reports stated that QPR would be playing Team at China at Loftus Road. In response, QPR issued an official statement, January 23 under the title "CORRECTION
The Club has had it brought to its attention that Ceefax and Teletext are reporting a game between QPR and China on February 8.We would like to confirm that no such fixture is taking place at Loftus Road and we have already asked both parties to remove the story." QPR Official Statement

Strangely the club made no mention of the fact that they would be playing a scrimmage/game against China at their training ground. The only place this was reported in a couple of lines at the end of stories re the China visit. (And highlighted several times in QPR Report!)

QPR in recent months having publicly announced their new special relationship with Chelsea,which among other things, has seen two top Chelsea quality youth/Reserves (Smith & Mancienne) join the club on lengthy loans. Meanwhile Youth Player, Dean Parrett discussed a transfer to Chelsea before settling on Spurs. So it might not be unreasonable for some to wonder why QPR played the Chinese team - just two days before their crucial relegation at Southend.

As was noted last week, QPR Report, February 2
QPR Playing or Not Playing China Team?-
It may be an error/"Failure to Communicate" (or maybe not) but AP is reporting that QPR are playing China, February 7 at QPR's training ground, Sipson Lane. In an AP Story "China's Olympic team trains with Chelsea" AP reports "..The Chinese team will play a Chelsea reserve team at Griffin Park on Feb. 5, then face Queens Park Rangers at Sipson Lane on Feb. 7, and Brentford at Cobham on Feb. 13." AP

There were additional news reports that QPR would be playing China at the QPR Sipson Lane Training Ground, February 7.
The Guardian (in an article entitled "Chinese unhappy with Chelsea" (Over their training facilities!) noted that The Chinese played a Chelsea XI in a friendly last night, face Queens Park Rangers tomorrow and then Brentford next Tuesday before returning home." Guardian
(Also re complaining about Chelsea, Reuters "China Olympians lose to Chelsea amid pitch complaints" - Reuters

Pre-QPR Statement Press Reports of China Olympics Team UK Visit

International Herald Tribune/AP

China's Olympic soccer team to play three friendlies in England
The Associated Press Monday, January 22, 2007
China's Olympic soccer team will play three friendly matches next month in England, part of the club's two-week training stint with London club Chelsea.
The Chinese Football Association confirmed Tuesday that its Olympic team will face Chelsea's reserve team on Feb. 5, followed by matches against Queens Park Rangers on Feb. 8 and Brentford on Feb. 16.
Queens Park plays in the League Championship, the level just below the Premier League. Brentford plays in League One, two rungs below the Premier League.
China, coached by Ratomir Dujkovic, is training in France and is expected to arrive on London on Feb. 1. Tribune

Chinese People Daily Dates confirmed for China Olympic soccer team's England tour
The Chinese Olympic team's two-week England tour schedule has been confirmed with Ratomir Dujkovic's men expected to arrive in London on February 1, according to the Chinese Football Association.
China will go up against the Chelsea reserves on Feb. 5 and two more friendlies await the team on February 8 (League Championship side Queen's Park Rangers) and 14th (League One side Brentford) before the squad returns home on February 16.
Queen's Park Rangers is standing at 21st at the 24-team League Championship with 30 points, one position above the relegation zone. Brentford is at the bottom of League One with 22 points.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is expected to work with the Chinese team during their training sessions at Cobham.
Dujkovic's team is currently in France, playing a series of friendlies. Source: Xinhua

Reuters Jan 18 - Visa problems jeopardise China's Chelsea visit
BEIJING, Jan 18 (Reuters) - The Chinese Olympic team's two-week stay at Chelsea's training ground next month has been jeopardised by visa problems, local media reported on Thursday. The Chinese under-21 squad are in France playing a series of friendlies and scheduled to arrive at the English champions' state of the art centre in Cobham, Surrey, on Feb. 1. But a failure to apply in time for their visas from the British consulate at Marseilles may force them to reconsider their London trip and stay on in France, sohu.com reported. 'The Chinese embassy in France has contacted the British embassy in Paris about the issue,' an official surnamed Chen at the Chinese consulate in Marseille told the Web site. 'But their visa applications will probably not be accepted because of the procedural problems...' The British embassy in Paris had agreed to try to help out by checking with their colleagues in Beijing, but it might still take too long, the official added. Serbian team manager Ratomir Dujkovic missed the first match of the French tour, a 0-0 draw with amateur club St O Cassis on Jan. 9, because of a problem with his visa. Chelsea's offer to host China's squad for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and hold seminars on technical, coaching and medical issues is part of the club's Asian marketing strategy. Reuters

InFront - Chinese national football team to visit Chelsea FC
Zug, Switzerland, 12 January 2007 - Infront Sports & Media has announced that the development partnership between the Chinese Football Association and Chelsea Football Club will kick off with a visit to Chelsea by the Chinese men’s Olympic football team (“Team China”).
Infront, which brokered the agreement, is the exclusive marketing partner of China’s national football teams. Unusually, its role goes beyond the commercial arena and includes the implementation of a comprehensive technical development plan for the teams.
The partnership with Chelsea will be initiated with a two-week training camp to be held in London in February 2007. Based on the success of the first training camp, the parties intend to discuss the feasibility of a wider ranging and longer-term strategic partnership.
Team China and Chelsea have developed an extensive programme, which will include fitness and conditioning; medical treatment; match preparation, match strategy and tactics; scouting and specialist coaching for goalkeepers, defenders and attackers. Team China and Chelsea will also play three matches against London-based teams and work on a number of joint PR initiatives during the stay.
CFA General Secretary Mr Xie Yalong said: “The Chinese Football Association believes Chelsea can help develop and deepen the experience and training of the Chinese Olympic squad. Chinese football is at a young stage compared to world football but we wish to advance as much as possible and this partnership arranged by Infront with Chelsea is an important step. The Olympics in China are providing us with the inspiration to learn from the outside world. Chelsea is a top world club with great resources, skills and experience. We look forward to learning and developing through our contacts together.”
Chelsea’s Business Affairs Director Paul Smith, who is spearheading the club’s international development, said: “China is a key commercial market for us but our policy is to help Chinese football where we can in the process, thus our agreement to co-operate with the CFA and Infront. Inviting Team China here is the first step - we are sure the team will find Chelsea welcoming and the training facilities excellent.
John Kristick, Infront’s Executive Director Asia, said: “This is an important step for Team China, as it will help to raise the level and intensity of their preparations for the Olympic Games. Chelsea is a global brand and offers Team China excellent facilities and the benefit of a world class coaching team, as well as match experience. It’s a major step on the road to Beijing 2008”.
This project is one of the first organised by Infront’s European Competence Centre Asia, a new unit which specialises in developing links between Europe and China through sports marketing activities and sporting contacts.
About Infront’s presence in China
Infront has a strong presence in China, with an office in Beijing and close to 50 experienced sports marketing personnel. It has recently established its European Competence Centre Asia, a “Gateway to Asia” which is specifically designed to encourage European-based companies and sports organisations to access the Chinese market by providing experienced consultancy advice and assistance with implementation. Infront is the marketing partner to China’s two biggest sports – football and basketball – at both League and national team level. Infront recently concluded a partnership with Euroleague basketball covering technical development, match organisation and related marketing initiatives.
For further information, please contact:
Joerg Polzer
Infront Sports & Media AG
Tel. +41-41-723 15 15
Fax +41-41-723 15 16

The Chinese Olympic football team (Team China) will be the guests of Chelsea Football Club for a two-week training camp next month.
The visit, which begins on February 1, is the first practical assistance given by Chelsea FC following a co-operation agreement between the Chinese Football Association (CFA) and the Premiership champions signed last year.
Infront, the exclusive marketing partner of the CFA negotiated the arrangement and are co-ordinating the visit.
As well as hosting Team China at Cobham for training, the fortnight will also involve key members of the first team management and backroom staff offering seminars and instructional sessions on technical, coaching and medical issues.
Team China, now managed by Ratomir Dujkovic, the Serbian who was in charge of Michael Essien's Ghana during the World Cup, features the most promising under-23 players in China.
Chelsea will also be arranging friendly matches for Team China, who were unlucky to be knocked out of the recent Asian Games in the quarter-finals in a penalty shoot-out.
Chelsea's Business Affairs Director Paul Smith, who is spearheading the club's international development, said: "China is a key commercial market for us but our policy is to help Chinese football where we can in the process and this was a key element behind our agreement to co-operate with the CFA and Infront.
Chelsea Announcement

See QPR Report "QPR Not Playing China

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