Pro league may bring back good times

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 May, 2009, 12:00am

Clubs will be offered triple cash rewards if the proposed Hong Kong Professional League gets under way next season.

Steven Lo Kit-sing, one of the four members of the working group appointed by the Football Association, said the new league would hand out HK$3.4 million in cash prizes and sponsorship money in its first season and the figure may increase to HK$6.4 million if it is a success.

Prize money for the current First Division adds up to slightly over HK$1 million, including the league and three cup competitions. 'Club revenue always plays an important part in professional football and we hope to secure as much as possible for clubs who want to join the new league,' said Lo.

Lo said he had already approached potential sponsors and was confident they'd secure at least HK$1 million sponsorship for the league and HK$300,000 for each cup competition. There will also be revenue from television broadcasts, ground advertisement and other minor sponsorships.

Clubs will also be required to make an investment of at least HK$4 million a season if they want to join the elite ranks.

According to the plans, to be discussed at the Football Association's board of directors meeting on Monday, each club will need to contract at least 15 professional players, offering a monthly salary of no less than HK$200,000 for the whole squad, including wages for coaching staff.

They will also need to pay a HK$100,000 annual membership fee, insurance for players and other miscellaneous operating expenses.

'A club in the professional league may require an annual budget of HK$4-5 million. Although they may suffer some losses in the first few years, they should be able to make a profit once the professional league is better established,' said Lo.