Tough job ahead as McKie takes up HKFA hot seat

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 November, 2011, 12:00am

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Scotsman Gordon McKie has been confirmed as the first chief executive officer of the Hong Kong Football Association, tasked with revitalising the sport in the city after many years of decline.

The 54-year-old former head of the Scottish Rugby Football Union arrived in Hong Kong at the weekend to begin a three-year contract, believed to be worth more than HK$2 million a year.

He is ready to start his tenure as soon as he is granted a work permit, which is expected to be a formality.

'We are delighted to bring McKie on board, especially in view of his background and experience,' said HKFA chairman Brian Leung Hung-tak. 'With his appointment, we can press ahead with Project Phoenix to revive the game in Hong Kong.

'He will be given full power by the HKFA board to oversee the entire organisation and one of his major tasks will be helping identify commercial sponsorship. He will also help with the recruitment of the national team coach.'

The HKFA's first CEO, McKie has a successful track record in helping to transform and improve businesses across a number of sectors.

Until June, he was the chief executive of Scottish Rugby. During his six-year tenure, Scottish Rugby was rescued from looming insolvency and he oversaw a dramatic improvement in the organisation's performance both on and off the field. At the time of his resignation, Scottish Rugby was viewed as one of the most credible and well-run governing bodies in world sport.

McKie, who played soccer as a centre-half in his youth, said 'as a keen follower of soccer and sport in general, I feel honoured to be appointed as the first ever CEO of the HKFA, and I look forward to the many challenges that lie ahead as well as leading an organisation at such an exciting time'.

The recruitment of the CEO is a major initiative of the government's Project Phoenix, aimed at reviving Hong Kong soccer at all levels. The HKFA has long been criticised for a perceived lack of transparency and poor management, and McKie said one of his tasks will be turning the HKFA into a 'reliable organisation'.