Reigning champions Leicester City will kick off the defence of their HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens title when they take on newcomers Brighton & Hove Albion in the opening round of fixtures at the 2018 event at Hong Kong Football Club next month.
Leicester, who defeated Aston Villa in last year’s final to win their second HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens crown, have also been drawn to face HKFA Red Dragons and Singapore Cricket Club in Group D of the annual event, which will be held this year from May 18-20.
Aston Villa, the tournament’s most successful club with six titles to their name, headline Group B and the team from England’s Midlands will face Cagliari Calcio from Italy, Hong Kong Premier League champions Kitchee and the HKFC Captain’s Select.
“This is the 19th edition of the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens and we are just as excited as ever about what lies ahead in this year’s competition,” said Tony Bratsanos, Chairman of the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens Organising Committee.
“We have a stellar line-up in both the Main Event and the Masters Tournament, with a record number of teams from professional clubs joining us from outside Hong Kong.
“The standard of the competition promises to be exceptional and we’ll once again have the opportunity to see stars of the future and of the past strutting their stuff on the Hong Kong Football Club pitch.”
Sixteen teams in total will compete for the title in the Main Event, with 10 professional clubs from overseas – the largest contingent ever – travelling to Hong Kong for the competition.
Group A will feature West Ham United, Wellington Phoenix, Kashima Antlers and Yau Yee League Select and the opening phase of the competition is rounded out with Newcastle United, Rangers, Newcastle Jets from Australia and Hong Kong Football Club meeting in Group C.
The 2018 HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens will also see the Citi All Stars return to defend the Masters title they have won in each of the last two years, with the team drawn to meet Nottingham Forest Mobsters, SCC Masters, HKFC Chairman’s Select and Yau Yee League Masters in Group B.
Citi All Stars, who defeated Wallsend Boys Club in last year’s final, are aiming to become the first team to win three titles in a row since 2007, when Lorenz All Stars completed their hat trick of Masters titles.
The Masters Tournament will commence proceedings at Sports Road, with games being played on the Friday evening before the Main Event kicks off at 9am on Saturday. Matches run throughout Saturday and Sunday.
Group A: West Ham United, Wellington Phoenix, Kashima Antlers, Yau Yee League Select
Group B: Aston Villa, Cagliari Calcio, Kitchee, HKFC Captain’s Select
Group C: Newcastle United, Rangers, Newcastle Jets, Hong Kong Football Club
Group D: Leicester City, Brighton & Hove Albion, HKFA Red Dragons, Singapore Cricket Club
Group A: playonPROS, Wallsend Boys Club, KCC Veterans, HKFC Masters, Discovery Bay
Group B: Citi All Stars, Nottingham Forest Mobsters, SCC Masters, HKFC Chairman’s Select, Yau Yee League Masters