Beckham friendly match on the cards in HK

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 February, 2008, 12:00am

Football star David Beckham is set to make a surprise return to play in Hong Kong next week, although the football association says a match has not yet been sanctioned.

The Los Angeles Galaxy, Beckham's team, says a friendly against a so-called Hong Kong Union side on March 9 is planned. The match, likely to be held at Hong Kong Stadium, would be part of the Major League Soccer club's pre-season tour.

Deputy general secretary Lam Shing-kui confirmed yesterday that the Hong Kong Football Association had been approached by a promoter about the match, but it needed more details before sanctioning it.

'All we know is LA Galaxy will come to play a friendly match in Hong Kong next week,' Mr Lam said. 'We hope the promoter,, will tell us more details before we can make all necessary arrangements, such as venue booking, security checks and ticket sales.

'We are happy that a professional team will come here to play a match, but we are running short of time to do the preparations.

'They would like to hold the match at Hong Kong Stadium, but so far we have yet to make any reservation of the venue.'

It would be Beckham's second visit to Hong Kong to play - he played in 2003 with star-studded Real Madrid, who beat a Hong Kong-China XI 4-2 in a post-Sars recovery event. The promoters wanted a Hong Kong League XI to play the Galaxy but that would be highly unlikely because the league's strongest teams - South China and Kitchee - are scheduled to play in the continental AFC Cup on March 11.

Mr Lam said two domestic league matches were scheduled for March 9, the proposed date of the Galaxy game. He said the four teams involved - Citizen, Bulova Rangers, Convoy Sun Hei and WoFoo Tai Po - could be asked to form a team to play instead.

Former Manchester United star Beckham made headlines last year when he signed for the Galaxy from Real Madrid on a lucrative five-year contract.

The Galaxy's itinerary also includes a match against FC Seoul in Seoul on Friday, followed by a match against a so-called Shanghai Hong Kong United Team in Shanghai next Wednesday before they arrive in Hong Kong.