Newcastle United have today confirmed plans to play in a three-team pre-season tournament with Olympiacos and FC Porto in Portugal at the end of July.
The Guadiana Torneo will take place between Thursday 26th July and Saturday 28th July at the Algarve Stadium, near Faro.
News of the tournament was confirmed on the Olympiacos official website last week and NUFC’s confirmation means that they are less likely to travel to South Africa to take part in the Vodacom Challenge.
Olympiacos face Porto in the opening game of the tournament on Thursday. Details of Newcastle’s matches are as follows:
Friday 27th July – Newcastle United v Olympiacos (7.45pm UK)
Saturday 28th July – Newcastle United v FC Porto (7.45pm UK)
Earlier today, an official from the local organising committee of the Vodacom Challenge told NUFCfans.co.uk that a decision on Newcastle’s involvement in the South African tournament is yet to be made:
“We will make an announcement in the next 48 hours because we have to confirm plans by that deadline.
“Negotiations are at a sensitive stage and we will announce the line-up in the next 48 hours.”
When asked if reports that Newcastle were more likely to tour South Africa than not were accurate, the source said:
“There are still issues which need to be ironed out. We would obviously like Newcastle to come and play in the Challenge – but a few things need to ironed out right now.
“There is far too much speculation but nothing has been confirmed.”
The annual Vodacom Challenge normally takes place in early to mid-July, two weeks before The Guadiana Torneo. Newcastle may take part in both tournaments or decide to send a reserve team to one of the competitions.
Last summer, the senior squad played pre-season matches in the US, with the reserve team on tour in the Netherlands.
Confirmation of pre-season games in Portugal comes after previously confirmed Newcastle games, including a reserve team games at Gateshead Town on 1st August and a first team friendly at Cardiff City on 11th August.
Newcastle players will be back for pre-season training on Monday 2nd July. The new Premier League season gets underway on Saturday 18th August. The fixture list will come out on Monday 18th June at 9am.