Payne calls it a day after 11 years as union chief

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 June, 2009, 12:00am

Allan Payne will end an illustrious 11-year stint in charge of the day-to-day running of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) when he steps down as executive director in August.

The HKRFU yesterday paid tribute to Payne, saying he had made 'a tremendous impact' on the game, not only in Hong Kong but in Asia.

Payne has been a driving force within the Asian Rugby Football Union and was appointed chairman of the HSBC Asian Five Nations tournament committee this year.

HKRFU chairman Trevor Gregory said: 'Allan has had a tremendous impact on the game and its growth overall in Hong Kong and Asia, and, in particular, to ensuring the ongoing success of the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens as a premier event on the global rugby calendar. Indeed, the success of the world-renowned Hong Kong Rugby Sevens will be his legacy for years to come and should, rightly, be a source of tremendous pride for Allan,' Gregory added.

Payne typically understated his efforts and said he would miss his hands-on involvement.

'It has been great being involved from mini-rugby right up to senior level. I have got to know a lot of good characters. I will miss all this,' said Payne, who will continue to stay in Hong Kong.

Payne arrived in Hong Kong in 1989 with the Royal Navy. A hard-working second-row forward, he represented Hong Kong from 1989 to 1992.

'I played for Tigers up at King's Park. We didn't win many games and I always used to blame the coach [who was myself] for that,' he laughed.

As a recognition for his hard work and dedication, the HKRFU has decided Payne will be in charge of the East Asian Games rugby sevens tournament in December.

The HKRFU will begin a worldwide search for Payne's successor.