BIRMINGHAM: Aston Villa have followed Premier League rivals Everton in withdrawing from a post-season tour of China due to the outbreak of the deadly flu-like SARS virus.
Villa had been due to play in a four-team tournament also involving Everton and Chinese sides Shandong and Shenzhen at the end of May.
But following Foreign Office and World Health Organisation warnings against travel to the region, they decided to withdraw.
“The continuing problems in certain parts of Asia mean it would be unwise for us to continue planning this trip,” Villa spokesman Steve Stride told the club’s website on Wednesday.
“Consequently, in conjunction with Everton, we have made the decision to withdraw from the trip.”
Everton, who are sponsored by a Chinese mobile phone company and who have Chinese international midfielder Li Tie in their squad, withdrew on Monday.
Shenzhen is located in the Guangdong province of China where SARS was first identified.
SARS has no known cure and has since spread through Asia and worldwide, killing more than 100 people and infecting almost 3,000. – Reuters