The Hong Kong Football Association will appoint new officials as soon as possible after all six members of its disciplinary committee quit on Monday.
Pui Kwan-kay, vice-chairman of the association, said yesterday he was sorry that the six had decided to resign, leaving the HKFA with no choice but to identify new faces.
"Their decision has affected our image as many of them have served the association for a long time" said Pui. "There should have been more and better communication between the two sides to prevent this from happening but there is nothing we can do now."
The committee, led by its chairman Stephen Wong Kwok-ki, accused the association's board of directors of interfering in its independence.
In their joint letter of resignation, the six said the board had forced the committee to accept the presence of a referee instructor at all of its meetings and take his advice before reaching any decisions.
This is "clearly in breach of Article 85 of the Fifa disciplinary code", which states "a member of another Fifa body may not stay in the meeting room during the judicial bodies' deliberations unless they have explicitly summoned him to attend", the letter said.
The committee members also said the board forced the committee to revisit a decision made last year and made threats in a letter to them in October.
However, HKFA chairman Brian Leung Hung-tak insisted they had never attempted to interfere in the committee's work. Rather, he said, some of the decisions made by the committee, such as suspensions for players, had angered clubs.
"Some of their decisions, such as a one-game ban for a direct red card, do not follow the norms of other jurisdictions," said Leung, adding that he did not think world governing body Fifa or the Asian Football Confederation would take any action against the association. "The six who resigned said they have informed Fifa and the AFC about their decision. But we are not worried because we have done nothing wrong," Leung said.
Leung said the board's main task is to find volunteers with a legal background to form a new disciplinary committee.