Changchun Yatai enters tropical Australian event

China Super League team Changchun Yatai will participate in the inaugural QNI North Queensland Challenge Trophy being played in Australia from 17-22 June 2006. Its opponents will be two Hyundai A-League teams, Melbourne Victory and the Central Coast Mariners, as well as the QANTAS Young Socceroos (U20).

Tournament director James Gage joined with Townsville Mayor Cr Tony Mooney and John Seedhouse of sponsor BHP Billiton QNI to officially announce that Townsville and the surrounding lush tropical region (approximate population 160,000) will be the host. “We are positioning the event as a ‘festival of football’ and will work with local cultural groups to invoke the spirit of the World Cup - lots of vibrant colours and music for families to enjoy at the games,” Gage said.

Townsville is interested in future involvement in the one-year old, professional A-League competition. The provincial city, wealthy through Great Barrier Reef tourism, agriculture, mining and education industries and military facilities, already hosts franchises in Australia's National Basketball League and National Rugby League.