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Chelsea extend Asian links

Wed 16th Mar 2011 | Marketing & PR

Chelsea Football Club has extended its ground-breaking partnership with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), chief executive Ron Gourlay announced in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The commitment until 2015 comes ahead of Chelsea FC's second summer tour to Asia during which games will be played in the Malaysian capital, Thailand and Hong Kong.

The club began the partnership in 2007 and were the first and remain the only European club to work alongside the AFC on grassroots projects.

Central to the project is the AFC's Vision China programme, part of Vision Asia, the brainchild of AFC president Mohammed bin Hammam who was present at the extension announcement.

Chelsea are Official Development Partners of Vision China which works with the Chinese FA (CFA) and city football associations to raise football standards in schools and amateur football for both men and women. It has been launched in five cities.

As part of their commitment, Chelsea will continue to provide expertise in a range of areas including coaching, sports science and medicine, media relations, corporate social responsibility and sponsorship

Gourlay said: “Chelsea Football Club prides itself on being the leading club in all regards. Through our many marketing activities around the world we have demonstrated our understanding that wherever we are trying to grow our brand it is vitally important that we are willing to give something back.

“Chelsea's partnership with the AFC represents our long-term commitment to ensure that whatever our plans are, they fit in with those of the governing body and are contributing to rather than competing with existing programmes.

“Vision China had some very impressive early successes. We are now focused on deepening our relationship with the project to ensure that our experience and expertise, whether technical or commercial, is delivered on the ground.”

The Chelsea chief executive reports a positive response from personnel involved since the partnership commenced four years ago, the first of its kind between any major confederation and a top European club.

“The commitment to developing football runs through everything Chelsea does,” Gourlay added.

'We think that a stronger Asian game means a stronger global game. Hence everyone at the club is fully supportive of the Vision China initiative and is keen to be involved.'

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