EPL: Barclays Asia Trophy in Singapore will be the most competitive ever

English Premier League bosses say July's Barclays Asia Trophy in Singapore will be the most competitive tournament in its 13-year history.

Arsenal, Everton, Stoke City and a Singapore Select XI will compete in the two day competition scheduled for July 15 and 18 at the 55,000-capacity Singapore National Stadium at the Sports Hub, according to a joint announcement by The Premier League, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and Barclays.

"Fans in Singapore should expect our most competitive ever Barclays Asia Trophy," said Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore

"Arsenal have always been one of the most thrilling teams in the Premier League -- they have some wonderful players and I'm sure they'll delight their many fans from across Southeast Asia. Everton under Roberto Martinez continue to play an exciting brand of football, while Stoke City mix flair with a never-say-die attitude."

The tournament will be hosted for the first time by Singapore coinciding with the city state's 50th anniversary celebrations after last year's opening of the Sports Hub, which has a retractable roof with every seat cooled by environmentally sustainable technology.

The Barclays Asia Trophy has been held biennially since 2003 and is the only Premier League-affiliated competition to take place outside of England.

Arsenal and Stoke will be part of this year's tournament for the first time while Everton will feature for the first time in a decade.

"We are very excited to bring the competition to Singapore for the first time," said Scudamore. "We know Singaporeans love their football and that they are huge fans of the Barclays Premier League. Our aim is to put on a tournament worthy of the Singapore's 50th birthday celebrations and for that reason we have three teams who epitomise the best of our League."

The Singapore Select XI will consist mainly of players from the Singapore national team.

The three Premier League sides will use the event to prepare for the 2015-16 Premier League season which kicks off on Aug. 8. It will take place over two match days with a final and a play-off game for third place. Each match day will feature two games.

The Premier League will also announce a series of coaching initiatives and knowledge-transfer programmes which will run concurrently with the tournament. Tickets will be sold separately for each matchday and will include both games on the day.

Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president Zainudin Nordin said the tournament will provide a platform for Singapore's best players to rub shoulders against the cream of the Premier League.

"Fans in Singapore will be keen to see how players from our Lions fare against the top-class opposition they see live on television week in and out during the Premier League season," said Nordin.

"Most of our national players are aged 25 and below. Hence, in line with our player development objectives, the competition presents an opportunity for our players to test themselves against opponents of the highest calibre and gain some valuable exposure."