Chelsea drop tournament plan

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The Independent Online

Chelsea have dropped plans to launch a four-team London tournament this summer because of police fears over potential crowd trouble.

Chelsea have dropped plans to launch a four-team London tournament this summer because of police fears over potential crowd trouble.

The club wanted to kick off their centenary season with a competition involving Arsenal, Tottenham and Fulham. Chelsea felt the project would have been a memorable way of beginning a season of celebrations and the idea harked back to the days when leading clubs used to compete for the prestigious "London Seniors Cup" 100 years ago.

The tournament would have attracted huge interest from TV and radio but Stamford Bridge officials are believed to have heeded the advice that a four-team tournament competition would be a non-starter because of security issues in the capital.

Chelsea are now working on replacing the July event with a friendly against a high-profile foreign club and talks already taking place with Real Madrid and Argentina's Boca Juniors. The club's coach Jose Mourinho is also considering another pre-season tour to the United States in the summer.

The former Chelsea midfielder Emmanuel Petit has announced his retirement. The 34-year-old Frenchman, who won the double with Arsenal in 1998 during his first stint in English football, and had trained with the Gunners at the end of last year, found it impossible to recover full fitness after a series of operations.

"Just before Christmas I became certain that I would never get back to my physical level. I knew it was over," he said. "I tried all I could to get back to my physical level - it was a great challenge. It's like a little death. All the images of my career came through my head, and it's hard to let it go. You must suddenly get into real life. Football players live in a bubble. From the morning until the evening, our life is carried out in a military way. As a competitor it's very hard to come to terms with."

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