What Is The Asia Trophy?

by Phil Thomas,
@Everton

You know Everton are in Singapore for the Barclays Asia Trophy. But what is the tournament's format?

The Barclays Asia Trophy is a four-team competition hosted in Asia, involving three Premier League teams and a local representative team. This year those teams are Everton, Arsenal, Stoke City and Singapore XI.

It was first held in 2003 due to the increasing popularity of the Premier League in the continent, and is held biennially so that it does not clash with the World Cup and European Championships.

This is the first time the tournament has been hosted in Singapore, having previously taken place in Hong Kong on three occasions, China, Malaysia and Thailand. Past winners include Chelsea (twice), Manchester City, Bolton, Portsmouth and Tottenham.

This is not the first time that Everton have competed for the Asia Trophy. We entered the 2005 tournament, hosted in Thailand, alongside Bolton and Manchester City. However, Everton finished in fourth place after losing both the semi-final and the third place play-off on penalties to Thailand and Manchester City respectively.

However, Everton have been on many trips to Asia, long before the Premier League existed. The squad travelled to Malaysia after the end of the 1973/74 season to play against a Malaysian Select XI. In 1981, they took part in the Kirin Cup in Japan, losing 4-1 to Inter Milan in the semi-finals, and we also played two games in Thailand after the 1983/84 season.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, overseas friendlies in Asia were played to make up for the absence of competitive games in Europe and Everton returned to Japan in 1989 to take on the Japanese national team, before playing friendlies against China and Hong Kong in 1990.

Last summer, Roberto Martinez took the Blues to Thailand to take on newly-promoted Premier League rivals Leicester City, with a single goal from Gary Taylor-Fletcher settling a tight contest at Bangkok's Suphachalasai Stadium.

Looking at the current first-team squad, Gareth Barry is a past Asia Trophy winner, the midfielder having helped Manchester City to successive 1-0 wins over South China and Sunderland in 2013. The 34-year-old joined Everton just a month later.

Everton's two games at this year's tournament will be shown in full just four hours after full-time on evertontv. For more information, click here.

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