Hong Kong rugby chief spells out grand vision
Rugby league and even American football are on the cards once the state-of-the-art 50,000-seater stadium is built at Kai Tak, says the enterprising Hong Kong Rugby Football Union.
Leading official Trevor Gregory, who has been a strident critic of the government for dragging its feet on building the new sports hub, believes the HKRFU can branch out and provide the organisational knowhow in putting on mega events.
"We have the experience of having staged the Hong Kong Sevens and other major rugby internationals for many years and I can't see why we cannot look at staging rugby league or American football games at the new stadium," chairman Gregory said.
"Once a stadium with a roof and with a cooling system is built, the scope is limitless. We have been hampered in the past because we cannot hold quality events in the summer due to the weather. But with a retractable roof, these limits will be removed."
The HKRFU, which will host the British and Irish Lions against the Barbarians at Hong Kong Stadium next June, is now ambitiously casting its gaze further afield.
"If there is an income stream for us and if we don't have to take any financial risk we will look at other sports," Gregory said.
"We will work with the government to put on other events."
Gregory urged the government to get the ball rolling and to start building the sports hub immediately. He said any more delays would put Hong Kong way behind Singapore.
"I was delighted to hear the government come out and categorically state the Kai Tak sports hub will go ahead.
"Now they must press ahead and start work. It is still unclear as to when the entire facility will be ready," Gregory said.
"Once the Singapore Sports Hub is up-and-running [in March, 2014] there will be added pressure on Hong Kong.
"Whatever event Singapore hosts is something Hong Kong potentially could have been hosting.
"And with a new stadium with better facilities, they will have a march on us and this is really a concern."