Job cuts feared in sports revamp

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 July, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 July, 2003, 12:00am

Legislators have raised concerns about possible job cuts, the future investment of resources and the re-deployment of experienced managers once the Sports Development Board is replaced by the Sports Commission next year.

Speaking at a Home Affairs panel meeting yesterday, legislator Cyd Ho Sau-lan of The Frontier warned that the revamp of the city's sports development system could mean losing experienced staff, whose redeployment may see them being offered less favourable terms.

'While a lot of staff within the Sports Development Board receive exorbitant pay, some of them are indeed highly experienced in their fields,' Ms Ho said.

'I am also concerned that staff members would be re-employed as non civil-servants and given less favourable terms.'

Last week Home Affairs Secretary Patrick Ho Chi-ping said that a new centralised and 'higher-level' Sports Commission would be set up next April to streamline operations and reduce administrative costs.

However, Legislator Henry Wu King-cheong yesterday raised further doubts over whether any administrative savings would be reinvested into sports training and nurturing talent for the future.

'Some of the sportsmen have expressed worries over a possible cut in resources,' the legislator said.

'This will affect their confidence in participating in the Olympics Games [in Athens] next August.'

Yesterday Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs Leo Kwan Wing-wah reassured the Home Affairs Panel that the government would re-divert jobs and funding from the board into the Hong Kong Sports Institute, which will become an independent institution.

The Sports Institute currently operates under the board. Mr Kwan said this would avoid any large-scale layoffs.

Mr Kwan added that government subsidies to the institute would remain at current levels, regardless of the amount of donations it received from other sources.