The Premier League Asia Trophy got off to an embarrassing start as organisers were forced to explain why star attractions Manchester City were not in China.
Last season’s treble winners were due to fly to Shanghai for this week’s exhibition tournament on Saturday but the team’s flight was twice delayed due to an administrative issue involving travel agent Thomas Cook Sport.
The champions were now hoping to fly from Manchester on Monday – after manager Pep Guardiola was due to appear alongside Wolves counterpart Nuno Espirito Santo at a promotional press conference in Shanghai.
The media event went ahead without any City representation.
Premier League communications manager David Antill said: “Manchester City have experienced administrative issues with their travel to China but these are being addressed and they will not affect their participation in the Premier League Asia Trophy. We look forward to welcoming them in China very soon.”
City had hoped to fly on Sunday evening after the initial delay but that was put back further when the problem was not resolved.
With the team now unable to arrive until Tuesday at the earliest, the players will have little acclimatisation time ahead of their opening match against West Ham in Nanjing on Wednesday.
They will then play in the final or third-placed play-off against Wolves or Newcastle in Shanghai on Saturday before moving on to play friendlies in Hong Kong and Japan next week.
PA has contacted Thomas Cook.
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