Sir Alex on tour: "unfortunate the Asian Cup is on"

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has launched a defence of his English Premier League club's commercial right to tour Asia whenever it likes, regardless of the regional football development and promotional programs of the Asian Football Confederation. "We are not trying to steal fans from other clubs and it is not about just taking," he said in Tokyo prior to his club's promotional game against J-League champions Urawa Red Diamonds. "Yesterday we arrived after a 14-hour journey and some of the players went to a school for the blind, while others went on a hospital visit to see some young kids.

"Football has changed a lot since I was a boy. Nowadays, people watch games on TV and tours like this give them the opportunity to see some of their favourite players in the flesh. That is exciting for them. We have also brought our soccer schools to this part of the world in order to try and help educate young players. It is part of Manchester United's history and tradition to give out information and knowledge and also add our name to particular causes.

"It is unfortunate the Asia Cup is on when we have the opportunity to come here. Every second year there is a World Cup or a European Championship, when we cannot give a tour the same kind of attention we are doing at the moment,' he said, as quoted by ESPN.

Almost 60,000 fans turned out on a rainy evening to see Man United draw with Urawa 2-2. The Japanese club wa weakened by a number of its star players being called up to play for the national team in the AFC Asian Cup being played in South East Asia.