HKFA still hopes to bring Uruguay, minus Suarez

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 July, 2014, 10:00pm
UPDATED : Friday, 04 July, 2014, 10:00pm

Officials are pressing ahead with plans to have the Uruguayan national team play an exhibition match in Hong Kong, even though the side has been stripped of its biggest star - controversial striker Luis Suarez.

The South Americans had been invited to play an international friendly, in early September, against the Hong Kong team to help the latter in their build-up to the East Asian Football Championship qualifying round in Taiwan later in the year.

It was widely thought the match would be called off following Suarez's lengthy four-month ban for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in their World Cup clash in Natal, Brazil, last month.

But a Hong Kong Football Association official said there was still a good chance the South Americans would come.

"We understand discussions are still going on, although the terms may change in light of the absence of Uruguay's top attraction," said Ken Ng Kin, HKFA director.

It is believed Uruguay will play another friendly game, in South Korea, and the Koreans are still very keen to stage that event, on the condition that Uruguay agree to lower their appearance fee.

"If South Korea can reach a deal with Uruguay, I am sure the South Americans also want to come to Hong Kong. Of course we will also change the terms," said Ng.

If the fixture goes ahead, it is likely to fall between a charity match featuring league champions Kitchee and Senior Shield champions South China that is planned for August 31 at Hong Kong Stadium, and the start of the new Premier League season.

Another international friendly between Hong Kong and Argentina has already been confirmed, with the Lionel Messi-led visitors set to appear at Hong Kong Stadium on October 14, at an estimated cost of US$3 million.