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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan, 12, 2007

China's Olympic squad to spend time at Chelsea

LONDON, Jan 12 (Reuters) - China's Olympic footballers are to spend two weeks learning the tricks of the trade at Chelsea next month, the Premier League club said on Friday.

The visit to the wealthy London club's training ground in leafy Cobham, where manager Jose Mourinho puts top international players such as Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and Michael Ballack through their paces, is part of Chelsea's push to tap fast growing Asian markets.

"China is a key commercial market for us but our policy is to help Chinese football where we can in the process and this was a key element behind our agreement to co-operate with the CFA (Chinese Football Association)...," Chelsea's business affairs director Paul Smith said in a statement.

Chelsea, owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, will host the Chinese team at training and offer seminars on technical, coaching and medical issues, Chelsea said .

They will also arrange friendlies for the team, made up of China's most promising under-23 players who hope to come good for the Beijing Games next year.

Earlier this week in Beijing, Chelsea launched a Mandarin website (www.chelsea.sina.com.cn) with Sina, China's biggest internet portal.

Chief executive Peter Kenyon said success in China was key to Chelsea's ambition of becoming the world's top club by the middle of the next decade.

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