Eastern angry over Kwai Chung home venue allocation
Ambitious Eastern have been dealt a hammer blow even before the start of the season. The newly promoted side, who have a HK$10 million budget, have been allocated the Shing Mun Valley Sports Ground in Kwai Chung as their home venue, a facility that has never been used for First Division matches.
"This is unacceptable," Eastern executive director Peter Leung Shou-chi said yesterday. "The venue is served by no public transport and fans will have to walk for 20 minutes to get there from the nearest MTR station. We have no idea who will go there to watch our games."
Eastern, who had wanted to use Mong Kok Stadium as their home ground, came third in the Second Division last season and were furthest down the pecking order when it came to choosing their venue. None of the other teams was interested in the Shing Mun Valley facility.
But Leung said the Football Association should never have considered an inadequate facility. "The home ground is very important to attract fans and they cannot just assign us an unsuitable venue," he said.
Adding salt to the wound, the remote venue will not come cheap as Eastern will have to pay HK$35,000 for each match to cover expenses. All ground charges have been increased for next season. BC Rangers will pay HK$30,000 for using the Sham Shui Po Sports Ground, an increase of HK$8,000.
"All clubs are losing money and it seems the FA does not care; it keeps increasing the charges," said Rangers executive director Philip Lee Fai-lap.