Cash-Strapped District Clubs Thrown 'Lifeline' To Take Part In Hong Kong Premier League
Financially strapped district clubs were "given a lifeline" by the government to participate in the inaugural Hong Kong Premier League with the prospect of increased public funding to HK$3M ($387,000), according to Chan Kin-wa of the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. Yuen Long, Tai Po and Wong Tai Sin "all had their begging bowls out when they met the Home Affairs Bureau," three weeks after another district team, Southern, pulled out of the top-tier competition citing financial difficulties. Yuen Long Chair and Hong Kong FA Board of Directors Member Wilson Wong Wai-shun said, "We were told by the Home Affairs secretary the government is in full support of district clubs and promises assistance in all areas, including the financial side." The new Premier League, due to kick off in September, "is a major component of the government's Phoenix Project to revive the game." The government had already guaranteed HK$1M ($129,000) to support each district club, but it is estimated HK$5M ($645,000) to HK$6M ($774,000) "is needed for survival, let alone mounting a serious challenge on the league and other competitions" (SCMP, 6/9).