Chelsea are returning to Japan this summer, with our Japanese opposition now confirmed!
Our many loyal fans in that country will have the chance to see the Blues in action when we play J.League champions Kawasaki Frontale at the International Stadium in Yokohama on Friday 19 July.
Ticket details for the game, which will be our men’s team’s first visit to Japan since the FIFA World Club Cup in 2012, will be announced in due course.
The fixture was originally outlined in November when we announced the trip, and it is our first confirmed fixture of our 2019 pre-season campaign. It will be titled the ‘MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE WORLD CHALLENGE’.
Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck said: ‘We are very pleased to be able to confirm the details of this first match we have announced in our pre-season schedule, with more dates to come in the forthcoming weeks.
‘It is going to be an exciting summer for the club and we are looking forward to working closely with our valued partners at The Yokohama Rubber Company to make this a visit to remember.
‘We are delighted to be returning to Japan after almost seven years and we also thank the J.League for their cooperation in organising the game. We are sure Kawasaki Frontale will provide high-level opposition at a noisy and passionate International Stadium as we prepare for the season ahead.’
Mr Mitsuru Murai, J.League chairman, added: ‘We are pleased to announce that the J.League will stage the MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE WORLD CHALLENGE 2019 for the first time in two years. Aiming to bring its competition level higher, the J.League has deregulated the numbers of foreign players this season. And we believe that this competition also will be a great opportunity for the J.League to experience the world’s highest standards.
‘Having such an aim, we are delighted to host Chelsea FC, one of the leading European clubs who has won the English Premier League five times as well as the UEFA Champions League, as a perfect opponent of Kawasaki Frontale, the back-to-back J.League champions of the 2017 and 2018 seasons. We are thrilled to witness how good Kawasaki Frontale can play against Chelsea.
‘We hope the MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE WORLD CHALLENGE 2019 will be a good occasion to promote international exchanges and deepen friendship, and we are looking forward to seeing the stadium filled with enthusiastic fans this summer.’
The match against Kawasaki Frontale comes four years into our relationship with principal partner Yokohama, who will work closely with the club while we are in Japan to bring our fans there closer to the Blues ahead of the 2019/20 season.
Yokohama continue to utilise the partnership with Chelsea all over the world, but have also maintained a strong focus in Japan, celebrating their 100-year anniversary in 2017 with a visit from Frank Lampard. More recently they welcomed another Chelsea legend, Didier Drogba, to Tokyo as part of their Drive For More campaign, where he met fans and discussed his Blues career.
Chelsea’s last visit to Japan saw us finish runners-up in the FIFA Club World Cup after losing 1-0 to Brazilian side Corinthians in the final, having beaten Mexicans Monterrey 3-1 in the semis. Both those matches took place at the same stadium we visit this summer, which has a capacity of over 70,000.
The venue also hosted the 2002 World Cup final, in which Brazil beat Germany, and will also stage the 2019 Rugby Union World Cup final.
Chelsea Women have also played in Japan, finishing runners-up to Japanese side Kobe Leonessa at the International Women’s Champions Cup in 2013.