No more requests for stadium funds
By SO LAI-FUN
THE chairman of the panel monitoring the new Hong Kong Stadium, Ronald Leung Ding-bong, yesterday pledged that no extra funding will be sought from the Urban Council for the sports ground.
Mr Leung, chief of the eight-member board of governors of the stadium, which has been criticised as pre-empting the council in deciding two controversial funding agreements, yesterday argued that the board had been overseeing the matter.
Urban Councillors have complained that the board did not ask for their views before agreeing $5 million for an opening gala show and $175 million fitting out cost, which made it difficult for them to raise objections.
But Mr Leung, also chairman of the Urban Council, said the board had been ''more than accountable on major issues''.
''The monitoring is very adequate at the moment,'' he said.
Mr Leung said the gala proposal was the last funding request because after that everything would be left to the management firm, Wembley International, which will run the sports ground as a self-financing business.
He said the stadium would see a surplus budget according to Wembley's estimates, and he said the fitting out cost would be sufficiently reimbursed.
On the gala proposal, Mr Leung said the price of the laser show, attacked as extravagant, was settled only a week ago, and he had the performance fee cut to an affordable level.
He argued that a verbal agreement in advance was necessary to fix the price, which was important for the council's funding approval.
The board also had the full power to make any decision on behalf of the council, according to its terms of reference, he added.