Senior Hong Kong football official cries foul over ‘negligent’ government plan to take back land from club
Football Association vice-chairman Pui Kwan-kay says much has been invested in Kitchee’s HK$84 million training centre
A leading figure in Hong Kong’s football sector has challenged the government’s plan to retrieve land for a local sports club’s training centre, calling the move “negligent”.
Pui Kwan-kay, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Football Association, made his comments after the government revealed plans to take back land used for Kitchee’s training facility in Shek Mun, which opened last year. The plan is to use the land for a public housing development.
“Why were some [government] departments so negligent?” Pui asked during an RTHK programme on Friday. “We have invested lots of resources there.”
The training centre cost HK$84 million to build, the bulk of which came from the Jockey Club’s Charities Trust.
“Why didn’t the government think more thoroughly before designating the land?” he added.
Pui said local football clubs faced a shortage of training venues and that Kitchee’s training ground was the best among them.
He also commented on a recent match-fixing scandal in which six people, including five current or former football players, were arrested by the Independent Commission Against Corruption on Tuesday. Pui said players with lower salaries were more likely to engage in the crime.
“Ordinary players might earn around HK$10,000 or less a month,” he said. “We stress ethical conduct for players and have passed clear messages to them that match-fixing is inappropriate.”
The six who were arrested were allegedly offered around HK$90,000 last season to fix matches in the Reserve Division.
He said the sector had tried its best to prevent players from taking bribes, such as through educational outreach. But he admitted the problem was difficult to prevent completely.
Pui added the association had tightened monitoring measures, including use of a fraud detection system to check whether players intentionally played worse to gain benefits.