Mega event fund's failure to support Hong Kong shows it needs reform

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 July, 2013, 3:24am

I felt exasperation when I read that the Hong Kong Cricket Association's application to the Mega Events Fund (MEF) for HK$5 million (following an earlier unsuccessful request for HK$10 million), to hold the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes, had been rejected ("Hong Kong Sixes funding request denied again", July 11).

I can quite understand the frustration expressed by the president and the chairman of the Hong Kong Cricket Association (HKCA).

I, and many people I know, simply cannot understand the actions, or rather lack of action, of the people who are supposed to be administering the MEF.

From all reports, despite having about HK$200 million at its disposal to fund and promote important sporting and other events in and for the good of Hong Kong, it has since last year seen fit to support just the one event - the Dragon Boat Festival.

This would clearly indicate that this government-backed scheme to support events in Hong Kong (which is admirable in its intention) is being hindered by bureaucracy.

The present administrators of the MEF are doing a total disservice to the city by failing to take advantage of opportunities to support deserving events such as the Hong Kong Sixes.

Can the assessment committee members really not see the benefit of holding the Cricket Sixes here in Hong Kong?

I find it truly amazing that an international event that involves the top cricketing nations in the world (and with cricket being the second most popular sport in the world) is not considered worthy of support from the MEF.

This really gives the impression that the assessment committee is simply looking to avoid having to make any decisions to commit public funds and, in that respect, it seems all too simple for it to put forward the argument that any particular application for funding does not meet at least one of the five criteria (all of which I understand must be met as a condition for the grant of funding).

In any event, I would suggest that either the Tourism Commission, which runs the MEF, needs to review the assessment criteria in place for the allotment of money from the fund, or it needs to reconsider the suitability of the people who are sitting on the assessment committee.

Most likely, it needs to do both.

Mark Pierrepont, Kennedy Town