Football fightback

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 December, 2011, 12:00am


Hong Kong officials promised to revitalise the local football team, who have plunged to a record low in world rankings, by increasing investment.

This month, the International Federation of Association Football (Fifa) rated Hong Kong 169th out of 204 teams based on results in international matches. This is Hong Kong's lowest-ever ranking. The highest rating achieved was 90th in February 1996.

Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing promised to work with the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA). He said the government has set up a special football committee to look into the problems. He also plans to improve management of the sport, upgrade facilities and increase financial support.

'The HKFA has conducted a worldwide recruitment exercise and appointed a chief executive officer with experience in sports management,' said Tsang.

Officials will continue to support HKFA's 'Project Phoenix' which includes recruiting foreign coaches. They plan to establish a football training centre in Tseung Kwan O to attract new blood.

By 2016, there will be 37 'third generation' artificial turf football pitches to meet increasing demand for training and competitions. The government has also granted more than HK$5 million to local teams to hire coaches, purchase equipment and improve administration.

Hong Kong is ranked 169th out of 204 teams