Three key figures to battle for the top job

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 May, 2006, 12:00am

Three, possibly four, candidates will enter the race to become chairman of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union after incumbent John Molloy indicated that he would step down next month.

Trevor Gregory, Martin Downey and Leighton Duley have all declared an interest in filling the shoes of Molloy, who will step down at the HKRFU's annual meeting on June 29. It is believed that one more name could be thrown into the hat during election time.

'The Hong Kong Rugby Union is a democracy, and I believe the race for the post of chairman will be hotly contested,' said Gregory. 'I am interested in the job, and I have already confirmed that I will be putting my name forward.'

Nominations for the post of chairman and other directors on the HKRFU's board will open on June 7. Allan Payne, HKRFU executive director said the union had not received any official nominations as yet, but expected a stiff battle for the plum chairman's position.

'There are all sorts of rumours flying around. I have heard that three people will be in the running for chairman. All I can confirm is that John Molloy will be stepping down after three terms [six years] in office and his place, as well as five other directors' positions, will be up for grabs,' Payne said.

Former Hong Kong captain Duley, 46, also confirmed that he was entering the race. 'My manifesto is already out in circulation among the voting members, and I believe Trevor [Gregory] and Martin [Downey] have done likewise,' said Duley.

Duley created a storm of controversy back in 2002 when he resigned from his position as the union's director of clubs, after feeling let down at what he perceived was a slow pace of development.

'It is a different story today with most elements of my report - which outlined the lack of development - now being put in place. I still believe firmly in increasing the involvement of local players in the league, expanding the number of teams in the First Division, and trying to create a level playing field among the clubs,' said Duley.

'All the clubs have my manifesto for the future. I'm sure it will be a close vote,' he added.

All three challengers know the ins and outs of the HKRFU having been involved on the board before. Gregory was secretary for four years, before stepping down last year so that he could put forward his name for the chairman's job.

'I had to stand down as secretary to make myself available for the chairman's position,' said Gregory.

Downey, who is presently director of facilities, will do likewise and step down from that job to concentrate on his new bid. He was unavailable for comment yesterday.

A total of 17 clubs, associations and bodies will be eligible to cast a vote each on June 29. Apart from Molloy's position, the five more directors' slots open for contest are youth, facilities, development, marketing and clubs.