South Melbourne FC are excited to welcome Guangzhou R&F ​FC to Melbourne. The Chinese Super League club are holding their pre-season trip in Melbourne and have selected the club’s Lakeside Stadium as their training base.

Bill Papastergiadis, Head of the A League Bid for South Melbourne announced “South Melbourne FC has been selected to partner with Guanzhou R&F FC thanks to the club’s world class facilities at Lakeside Stadium, the international recognition of the club’s brand and our work in the establishment of the Australia China Football Development Association.”

Bill said “We are hosting a formal dinner for government and community dignitaries to welcome the club demonstrating how our international partnerships and football can bring together members of the business community to benefit sport, trade, culture and tourism for both China and here in Melbourne”

South Melbourne FC and Guangzhou R&F FC will share the facilities at Lakeside Stadium over the coming weeks as both clubs undertake pre-season training and match preparation.

The teams will participate in a joint training match and then on Thursday 8th February will play in a friendly match at Lakeside Stadium. Details for the friendly match will be released over the weekend.

Bill Papastergiadis said: “Our partnership with the Chinese business and football community continues to strengthen and grow each year. Establishing the Australia China Football Development Association has played a large role in this. Our youth coaching staff have recently returned from delivering a coaching conference in Jinshan for seventy local coaches. I have also just returned from Shanghai this week having met with Victorian Commissioner Tim Dillon looking at opportunities to build closer bonds with our business and football network in China.”

“South Melbourne has been at the forefront of football development for the game as a whole and for senior and junior footballers for many decades. We are now taking this experience and technical capability to the international stage. This is yet another example of the clubs maturity, depth and readiness to play on the national level here in Australia in the A-League.”