Union to spend $1m on coaches
By ALVIN SALLAY
A MILLION-DOLLAR coaching programme planned by the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) will see every club in the territory having a qualified coach before the start of next season.
The Union has advertised locally for a coaching director who will be responsible for the entire programme, which will include appointing a coaching co-ordinator for every club.
All these people will be paid by the Union and it has been estimated the annual cost of the scheme will be in the region of $1 million. It will be the first time the Union will pay coaches in the territory.
The Union is prepared to pay 'whatever it takes' as it feels it is vital for the clubs, especially the development sides, to have direction.
'Each club having a coach is a necessity and not a luxury,' said George Simpkin, technical director of the HKRFU. 'We have no budget for this scheme but we are prepared to pay whatever it takes.
'We must provide instruction to players and we have got to bring on the development clubs. But if we are going to provide the expertise, we need qualified personnel.' Bryan Hain, the director of coaching on the Union's board, will soon name the person to be in charge overall. The new appointee's duties will be to draw up a coaching education programme for all levels of rugby, to work with the Hong Kong Sports Institute and the Sports Development Board (SDB), and to overlook the work of the coaching co-ordinators at each club.
Each coaching co-ordinator will be paid a monthly retainer, believed to be in excess of $5,000.
Before they are entrusted with the task of educating the clubs, they will have to be educated themselves and will have to undergo comprehensive coaching clinics.
'At the moment we can't offer this as a career option as it is part-time and only for seven months of the year,' said Simpkin.
Simpkin said the Union will be looking for sponsors to come forward and back the programme. They will also approach the SDB - which is committed to promoting sports at grassroot level - for funds.
At the moment, only a handful of clubs have coaches - interested individuals who are volunteers.