The yearly summer visits of big European football clubs to Asian cities has long been a bone of contention. It is clear that the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid have plenty of fans in Singapore, Shanghai and Seoul but just what affect these games have on the local football steps are hotly-debated.
But what is less talked about is how the Asian media outlets view these visits. As a result, it has been interesting to see the controversy over Manchester City's trip to China.
China's state news agency Xinhua posted an article that let rip on what the writer saw as a disrespectful attitude of the club.
"For the Premier League champions, their appearance in China was nothing more than a commercial obligation, and their lack of enthusiasm and the indifferent treatment of their hosts stands in stark contrast to representatives of other clubs," went the article.
"...Chinese media have been ignored and sidelined during the duration of the trip, with City only fulfilling contractual obligations, and doing so less than enthusiastically. PP Sport, the Chinese media partner of the tour, was only given fewer than five minutes of a pitchside interview with manager Pep Guardiola, whereas British TV partners received a 15-minute sit-down session.
"On top of this, the Chinese media found themselves excluded from a number of other events, including opportunities to talk with and ask questions to some of the City players. Following the final pre-match press conference on Friday, British media were invited to sit down with new signing Rodri, whereas Chinese media were ushered away on to a bus before they could see what they were missing out on."
Upon arriving in Hong Kong, Pep Guardiola --head coach of the English champions -- denied that City had been disrespectful.
I don't know the details of City's China trip but have covered the tours of many European clubs all over Asia. There are some who do it much better than others.
But few get media relations right. The local media on the ground are often left feeling second-class to the press pack that travels with the clubs and this has been the case for years. In terms of access to players, coaches and officials, the European media gets a lot more. Time and time again, the local press are left with scraps.
It always seemed counter-productive for football clubs to go on tours to build brands and revenue and then to leave major local media outlets feeling annoyed and resentful. It would be easy for clubs to do much better in this regard.