Football: Chelsea to play Perth Glory in Australia

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SYDNEY, Feb 8, 2018 (AFP) – Chelsea will play Perth Glory in July in the English giant s only Australian pre-season friendly this year, the A-League club said Thursday.

The Premier League champions are returning to the Western Australia city for the first time since 1974, with the game taking place at the new Optus stadium, which has a capacity of more than 60,000.

“We will be taking a strong squad to Perth as we prepare for the 2018/19 season,” Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said in a statement.

“Of course, we have a long way to go in the current campaign but we can already look forward to an exciting pre-season.”

Perth lies just a few hours from Southeast Asia and the Western Australia state government is keen to attract fans from the region for the game.

“Football is hugely popular in our key Asian tourism markets including Singapore, Malaysia and China, as well as across Australia,” said state tourism minister Paul Papalia.

“This is a great opportunity for fans in those markets to visit Perth and see one of the most successful Premier League teams of the past 15 years.”

The London club last visited in Australia in 2015, beating Sydney FC 1-0 in a pre-season friendly.

Chelsea are currently fourth in the Premier League, 19 points behind leaders Manchester City. Perth Glory lie eighth in the 10-team A-League

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