Football: Manchester United to play Hong Kong friendly in July's pre-season tour

HONG KONG (AFP) - Manchester United will play in Hong Kong for the first time in eight years as part of the club's pre-season tour, the Premier League giants and match organisers said on Monday.

The Red Devils will face local team Kitchee at the 40,000-seater Hong Kong Stadium on July 29 as they seek to cash in on their huge support in the former British colony and in mainland China.

"The club has tremendous support throughout China and especially in Hong Kong," United chief executive David Gill said in a statement.

"We have visited on a number of occasions and after an eight-year gap it's a pleasure for the team to be able to return to Hong Kong again this year."

Match organisers would not specify how much United will be paid for the appearance but confirmed the Hong Kong government had contributed HK$8 million (S$1.28 million) towards the fee.

Ng defended the generous government funding for the event, saying that it would boost Hong Kong's profile and attract tourists.

United last visited Hong Kong in 2005, when they defeated the Hong Kong national team 2-0 in a friendly match. The Red Devils are playing an Australian A-League All Stars team on July 20, with other fixtures on the club's tour due to be announced shortly.

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