Players' departure sign of the times
It is so sad to hear that two Hong Kong national players are quitting football to become fire-fighters ('HK pair extinguish national careers', South China Morning Post, July 24).
Yeung Hei-chi and Yiu Hok-man, who helped Sun Hei win their first league championship last year, have decided to quit the unsteady career of the professional footballer.
In recent years, the poor economy in Hong Kong has meant that attendances at matches have dropped. It is therefore becoming more difficult for professional footballers to earn a living. There are only a few large clubs. In the smaller outfits, players are semi-professional and have to do other jobs, such as working as salesmen and minibus drivers. Soccer fans do not want the situation to get worse. If more players quit, the quality of football will deteriorate and attendances will continue to decline.
I urge the Hong Kong Football Association to try and come up with a solution to this problem.
Your report on the footballers who have quit to become firemen sheds a characteristic light on the situation of football, as well as sport in general, in Hong Kong.
It is hard to believe that in a professional, business-driven environment such as Hong Kong, where the public show a propensity for watching sport on television, top Hong Kong footballers are forced to take such steps.
With the right strategy, and with professional sports business people involved in the running of this business, it is possible to prevent more players leaving.
If someone is interested, I have some concrete ideas I would like to discuss about how to restructure professional football in Hong Kong.