THE Hong Kong FA have advised fans not to buy tickets for next week's Asian Cup-Winners' Championship tie between South China and Dalian . . . because the on-off match may be off again, writes Jeremy Walker.
The FA, who are preparing to stage the first-round first-leg tie at Mongkok Stadium on Monday, say the match is in doubt because of visa problems for the Dalian club.
''Although tickets have gone on sale, we would advise fans not to buy them just yet because now there is some doubt about the tie going ahead,'' said an FA spokesman.
''Dalian have had trouble getting visas in Beijing for their players and asked if they could arrange them through the immigration department in Hong Kong.
''The Hong Kong Government has turned down their request and it is unlikely they will obtain them from Beijing in time for the match.
''We have made the Asian Football Confederation aware of the problems because South China want to know if the second leg in China will still take place on October 15.'' The clubs have had many problems agreeing dates for the two ties, mainly because several Dalian players were representing Liaoning province in the China national games.
The AFC stepped in to fix the dates - and said that if either club could not play on the specified date they would be forced to forfeit the tie. East Bengal await the winners in the second round.
An AFC spokesman said: ''Dalian have sent an official to the British Embassy in Beijing to try and sort it out.
Dalian Software Park
''If they are unable to travel to Hong Kong, the competition committee will have to make a ruling on it.''