Sunderland to head for Korea next summer

First published in Sunderland AFC News Durham Times: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Football/Golf Writer

SUNDERLAND have revealed exciting pre-season plans to head to South Korea next summer after being invited to play in the Peace Cup.

The Black Cats will join K-League side Seongnam and German Bundesliga outfit Hamburg for this year's competition, playing two fixtures at the Suwon World Cup Stadium provisionally scheduled for Thursday, July 19 and Sunday, July 22.

The invitational competition is held every two years and has been won by PSV Eindhoven, Tottenham Hotspur, Lyon and Aston Villa since its formation in 2003.

Real Madrid, Juventus, Porto, LA Galaxy, Boca Juniors, Besiktas and Seongnam - who participate in each Peace Cup - have also featured in the competition in recent years, with Martin O'Neill the winning manager last time out when Villa were victorious in Spain in 2009.

Sunderland chief executive, Margaret Byrne, said: "Sunderland are immensely proud to be invited to participate in the Peace Cup. This tournament has a proud history involving many of the world's top clubs and for Sunderland to be considered amongst them is a huge honour for us."

The invitation is a further example of the growing links between Sunderland and Korea, where former chairman Niall Quinn and a delegation travelled earlier in the season to build relationships to help the club move forward.

And Sunderland's international and national marketing director, Mike Farnan, said: "The Peace Cup is a tournament known across the world and its pedigree is recognised throughout football. Building a global profile is a key aim of our football club and participating in this prestigious tournament could provide us with a great platform on which to build our ambitions."

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