The World Cup frenzy won't bypass all cash-strapped Hong Kong football fans stuck in subdivided flats without the luxury of sports channel subscriptions, thanks to an initiative by about 20 shopping malls.
About 2,500 football fans who might otherwise miss out on the tournament are being invited to special free screenings at the malls as part of the government's poverty-alleviation campaign, Bless Hong Kong.
The Commission on Poverty oversees the campaign in collaboration with the community and business sector. It aims to "help the underprivileged, foster the spirit of giving and boost the social mobility of youths".
Participating shopping malls - most of them managed by Sun Hung Kai Properties - will be working with local non-governmental organisations, which will run the late-night screenings.
"The fact that less privileged members of our society can also share the World Cup's festive atmosphere embodies the spirit of community integration," said Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing at a launch ceremony for the Bless Hong Kong World Cup Fiesta at Tseung Kwan O sports ground yesterday.
The initiative will also see players from Sun Pegasus FC - one of the city's First Division League teams - take part in workshops for 120 children.
The youngsters who impresses most in subsequent matches will win a trip to Britain to learn football skills from English Premier League players.
TVB won the rights to screen the World Cup and will show 22 of the 64 games, including Friday's opening Brazil vs Croatia match and the final, on its free channel. The rest will be on pay service TVB Network Vision.