Hong Kong Cricket Sixes may be held over four days in 'bold move'
Organisers plan four-day tournament in 2014 in a bid to secure sponsorship from government's Mega Events Fund
The Hong Kong Cricket Association is looking to expand the scope of next year's Hong Kong Sixes to meet requirements set by the government's Mega Events Fund.
This year's Sixes, initially scheduled for the end of this month, was cancelled after organisers could not convince the MEF to finance the tournament and failed to drum up corporate support in the form of a title sponsor.
Now HKCA chairman Mike Walsh says a bigger and bolder push will be made for next year's edition that will include enlarging it to a four-day tournament.
"We are going back to the Mega Events Fund with a revised and much bigger proposal for next year, where we propose a tournament of [ICC] associate countries on the Thursday and Friday before the main event on the weekend," Walsh said. "The basic theme is an expansion of the tournament to meet some of the additional goals required for MEF funding and we will meet with them within a month."
The Sixes approached the Tourism Commission's MEF twice this year, first with an application for HK$10 million and later for half that sum. Both were turned down.
Although the MEF has refused to comment on individual cases, it is understood that the reason why the Sixes was knocked back was the failure to meet a key requirement of accommodating 10,000 fans.
The Kowloon Cricket Club can at most cater for around 4,000 people and a two-day tournament - this year's intended event schedule - failed to meet this criteria. By expanding the event to four days next year, the HKCA hopes to fulfil this requirement.
"Apart from the associate nations' tournament, we are looking to play a women's event, which would include inviting the China national side," Walsh revealed. "All these ideas are of course at an early stage, and will depend on the amount of funding and sponsorship we get."
Associate countries have featured before at the Sixes, but getting teams like Afghanistan and Ireland would be a major draw. Both have qualified for the 2015 World Cup (50 overs) and are also strong favourites to book their berth in next year's ICC World Twenty20. Afghanistan were targeted a couple of years ago but organisers dropped the idea after it was found out that acquiring visas would be a lengthy process.