South China revenue at risk from Sevens clash

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 January, 2010, 12:00am

South China's plans to generate big revenues from their 2010 AFC Cup matches are in jeopardy as a date clash with the Sevens rugby union tournament means they may be prevented from using Hong Kong Stadium as their home ground in the group stage.

Team convenor Steven Lo Kit-shing had been expecting to be able to draw large crowds to their three home matches in group G at the 40,000-seat venue. Last year 37,000 fans watched their semi-final against Kuwait Sports Club at the stadium.

Yet their second group match against Persiwa Wamena, of Indonesia, on March 23 cannot be held at Hong Kong Stadium because of a clash with the Sevens.

All three home matches are required to be held at the same venue in order to be fair to all visiting teams. South China will, therefore, have to move all their home matches to the 12,000-seat Siu Sai Wan Sports Ground if Hong Kong Stadium is not available. The only solution is to swap the two matches against the Indonesian side, playing the away match on March 23 and return to Hong Kong for the home leg on April 7.

'We have reached an agreement with the Indonesian side and the Indonesia Football Association to swap the schedule and have submitted the request to the Asian Football Confederation,' Emily Lau Cheuk-chi, Hong Kong Football Association deputy general secretary, said. 'We are still waiting for approval from the governing body, but if they reject us, we have no other alternatives but move all three matches to Siu Sai Wan.'

WoFoo Tai Po, the other representative from Hong Kong in the AFC Cup after clinching the FA Cup last season, will use the newly open Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground for their three home matches in group H.