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SBD Global/August 13, 2012/Facilities

Hong Kong To Gain First Football Training Center, Followed By Professional League

Plans "to build Hong Kong soccer's first training centre will materialise" as soon as the Hong Kong Football Association, Hong Kong Jockey Club and government finalize the proposal, according to Chan Kin-wa of the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. HKFA CEO Mark Sutcliffe revealed that the facility will be built on a landfill site in Tseung Kwan O and could be ready for use as early as '14. Sutcliffe said, "My understanding is the Jockey Club has more or less confirmed funding and the government has agreed to underwrite the running cost." The project was initiated in '03 when the construction cost was estimated to be HK$103M, all funded by the Jockey Club. But the plan "has been dragging on for almost a decade as the HKFA does not want to take the risk of bearing the running costs of the centre," estimated at more than HK$10M ($1.3M) a year. The centre will be built with both natural grass pitches and artificial turf "as the latter can be used by the public at a lower maintenance cost." There will also be some back-up facilities such as a physiotherapy centre, classrooms and gymnasium. Sutcliffe, who replaced Gordon McKie, said that "another priority of his new job would be setting up the professional league," which is scheduled to kick off in September for the '13-14 season with at least 12 teams (SCMP, 8/12).
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