FC Seoul will become the first team from South Korea to participate in the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens after replacing defending champions Atletico Madrid in the draw for the Main Tournament.
Spain’s Atletico beat England’s West Ham United 3-2 after extra-time in the 2015 final to win the title on their HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens debut, but the La Liga side have now confirmed they are now unable to make the trip to Hong Kong Football Club at the end of May.
And following confirmation from Atletico, tournament organisers quickly moved to add five-time South Korean champions FC Seoul to the line-up which already includes current Premier League pacesetters Leicester City, five-time HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens champions Aston Villa, former winners Newcastle United, last year’s runners-up West Ham and Stoke City as well as Japan’s Kashima Antlers and New Zealand’s Wellington Phoenix.
“We considered all the options and we truly regret not being able to make it this year because we had a great time last year and we really would like to come back,” said an Atletico statement.
“We look forward to the next edition to do it and we would love you to take us into consideration for future editions of the tournament.”
In addition to winning South Korea’s top-flight, the K-League Classic, on five occasions, last year FC Seoul won the FA Cup having also reached the 2013 AFC Champions League final.
Swansea City midfielder Ki Sung-yueng and Crystal Palace midfielder Lee Chung-yong began their careers at FC Seoul, while former Monaco and Arsenal striker Park Chu-young moved to Seoul World Cup Stadium as a teenager before returning to the club last year following his time in Europe.
“FC Seoul are an exciting addition to the Soccer Sevens,” said HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens Organising Committee Chairman Tony Bratsanos ahead of next week’s draw for the 20-22 May tournament.
“And especially as this will be the first time that a Korean team has taken part in the event since the inception in 1999.”
The draw for both the Main and Masters Tournament will take place on 12 April.