Chelsea would 'not go' to Asia during Asian Cup

Bruce Buck, the Chairman of English Premier League club Chelsea, has confirmed that Chelsea will be making a pre-season tour to China in 2008. He emphasised, however, that the club's approach to the Chinese market includes unique and exclusive co-operation agreements with the Asian Football Confederation and the Chinese Football Association to promote grass roots and youth football.

The relationship with the AFC, the equivalent of UEFA in Asia, is a key one and Buck emphasised that Chelsea would not jeopardise that relationship. "For one thing we're not going to take our club to Asia when the Asian Cup is taking place. That's lesson Number 1," he said.

"Our approach is based on something in addition to just doing club tours. This is consistent with our general club approach and that of our owner Roman Abramovich, who believes an important part of our mandate in football is to do a lot of good for football generally. Of course there is also a business objective with such an important market as Asia and in particular China. We can invest and harvest. We're not sure when we're going to harvest and what we're going to harvest. At the moment we're just trying to build up general awareness, not just brand awareness, and play a role in keeping kids off the streets by playing football, increase participation and encourage a healthier lifestyle," he said.