Department has helped bring major rugby events to HK

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 May, 2010, 12:00am

I would like to clarify a number of points in response to the article ('Punitive tax stifling development', May 20).

The current standard charge for hiring the Hong Kong Stadium is HK$150,000 per day or 20 per cent of the gate receipts, whichever is the higher.

However, to promote sports development and to help bring major international sports events to Hong Kong, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department has made special arrangements for the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union to hire the venue at a reduced rate.

For example, when the Bledisloe Cup was held at the stadium in November 2008, the HKRFU was charged according to a sliding scale: 20 per cent on the first HK$4 million gate receipts, 17.5 per cent on the second HK$4 million and 15 per cent on the remainder.

As a result, the total hire charge paid by the HKRFU was reduced by HK$1.4 million.

The same special arrangement has applied to the Rugby Sevens since 2009.

In addition to reducing the rental charges, in recent years the department has improved the facilities and services at the stadium, in response to specific requests made by the HKRFU.

In order to improve the stadium's back-of-house facilities, the department has installed additional changing rooms with facilities specifically designed for rugby players.

Additional supporting facilities are provided for rugby players on event days, and existing space has been converted for use as an Event Operations Office during rugby matches.

These improvements, which cost HK$5 million, will help the HKRFU to run events such as the Rugby Sevens and the Bledisloe Cup to a higher level, and I trust that the department's efforts in this area are well recognised by the union.

Your readers may also wish to note that in 2010-11 the department will give a subvention of HK$3.9 million to the HKRFU.

The government is committed to developing sport in Hong Kong.

The recent injection of HK$3 billion into the Arts and Sport Development Fund will allow us to increase our support for sport in many areas, including the promotion of team sports.

We look forward to working with the HKRFU in taking Hong Kong rugby forward.

Olivia Chan, assistant director (leisure services), Leisure and Cultural Services Department