Happy Valley football club to audit money from sponsors after match-fixing allegations

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 January, 2014, 3:13am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 January, 2014, 3:13am

Lawyers will be hired to investigate the finances of the First Division Happy Valley soccer team and audit the contributions it receives from sponsors, the chairman of the club says.

The decision was made after six Happy Valley players, the club's executive officer, a former player and a sponsor representative were arrested by the Independent Commission Against Corruption on Tuesday for alleged match-fixing.

Four games scheduled for this month involving Happy Valley and another First Division team, Tuen Mun, have been postponed pending the outcome of the ICAC investigation.

Happy Valley Athletic Association chairman Pui Kwan-kay said the club would meet its financial backers this week to "clarify their roles". It would also hire lawyers to audit the money from various sponsors "to rebuild the reputations of the sponsors and the club", and work on an internal investigation.

Club director Kwong Hiu-ming, who had resigned allegedly because of disagreements with sponsors, would return, he added. Earlier this week, Pui said on radio that "sponsors sometimes influenced the operations of soccer teams", but he did not elaborate.

Meanwhile, four foreign soccer teams will join this year's Lunar New Year Cup.

Japanese team FC Tokyo, Portuguese SC Olhanense, Russian PFC Krylia Sovetov Samara, the alliance team of Ecuadorian club Deportivo Cuenca and the local Citizen Football Club will compete for the championship.

The four matches of the tournament, organised by the Citizen Athletic Association, will take place at the Hong Kong Stadium in Causeway Bay on January 31 and February 3, the first and fourth days of the Lunar New Year. Tickets priced between HK$100 and HK$380 will go on sale from January 18.

Asked if ticket sales might be sluggish because of match-fixing allegations hanging over the local soccer league, Pui - also chairman of the cup organiser - said: "I'm not worried. Football fans love to watch good matches. I'm sure players will do their best."

The association has donated 12,000 tickets to needy families as well as primary and secondary school pupils. The cup is part of the Bless Hong Kong campaign organised by the Commission on Poverty to "help the underprivileged" and "boost the social mobility of youths".