Arsenal to be first English Premier League football club to play friendly in Vietnam

HANOI (REUTERS) - English football club Arsenal will play a friendly against Vietnam's national team on July 17 making the north London side the first Premier League team to visit the communist country.

Arsenal will spend three days promoting the club in the capital Hanoi from July 15-17 and will field a full-strength team against the national side at the My Dinh National Stadium on the final day, the Vietnam Football Federation announced on its website.

Premier League rivals Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool are also making trips this summer to Southeast Asia, where top European clubs have huge followings and draw large revenues from television and merchandising.

Italian giants AS Roma will also play in Vietnam, seven weeks earlier than Arsenal on June 2, according to Vietnam's state media.

Arsenal have for several years given support to Vietnamese soccer through a local project aimed at developing young players, the Hoang Anh Gia Lai-Arsenal JMG Academy.

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