HKFA to bid for government 'landfill' funding for Tseung Kwan O training facility
Chairman says government scheme can bring forward construction of centre without having to wait for Jockey Club support
The long-awaited training centre in Tseung Kwan O may start construction next year, even without the support of its supposed major financier, the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
Hong Kong Football Association chairman Brian Leung Hung-tak said yesterday they had decided to apply for another source of funding to kick the project off as soon as possible.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said in his policy address in January that the government had earmarked HK$1 billion to set up a Restored Landfill Revitalisation Funding Scheme to develop recreational facilities. One of the proposed landfill sites for restoration is in Tseung Kwan O.
The HKFA intends to apply for the maximum sum of HK$100 million. "The TKO soccer centre has been on the drawing board since 2003 as it is a very complicated development involving construction on a landfill site," Brian Leung said yesterday.
"We can bid for funding under the government's initiative to develop the site. We may face competition from other organisations, but are confident it will remain for the use of soccer; it has been earmarked for soccer for over a decade."
The association is now drafting a funding application to submit to the government for approval in September.
The centre would be developed in two phases, the first focusing on pitches and temporary buildings, the second on development of facilities, including permanent buildings and more pitches. Phase two is subject to the outcome of a separate HKJC master plan and feasibility study.
"We hope the phase one project could start within a year, but this is subject to a government evaluation process," Leung said. "The timing of phase two is in the hands of the HKJC as is the scale of the investment. We know there is a long way to go, but since this centre is vital to the future of the sport, we will work with the Jockey Club and the government to bring it to fruition."
Yesterday, a ground-breaking ceremony was held at Shek Mun, Sha Tin, for the HK$76 million Jockey Club Kitchee Centre.
The 15,000 square metre site, due to open next year, will provide pitches that Kitchee can alter to cater for different age groups and training purposes. Five amenities blocks will also be built.
"This centre cannot happen without the support of the HKJC, which has provided backing of HK$63 million," said Ken Ng Kin, chairman of Kitchee Foundation. "The facility will help boost our youth development programmes before taking Hong Kong soccer to another level."