Eastern offer players HK$1 million in bonuses for winning cup titles
HK Premier League title will be worth much more though, says club director Peter Leung
Big spenders Eastern are offering their players more than HK$1 million in bonuses for capturing any one of the three cup titles in the new season, while the incentive for winning the league will be much more.
"Money always matters in professional soccer and we are happy to offer the players big cash rewards provided they can meet the challenges," said Eastern director Peter Leung Shou-chi. "Our target is to sweep all the silverware and we hope the players can do the job as we are talking a lot of money."
Eastern lifted the FA Cup in May defeating champions Kitchee 1-0, and the players received HK$2 million in cash.
"The league will of course be our prime target, especially as this is the first Hong Kong Premier League which will always be remembered," said Leung. "The prize money will be much bigger than winning any single cup tie and will be decided by the management at a later stage.
"We know there are also other teams vying for the league title but this is not our concern. We only focus on our performance. If our players deliver, I am sure we are capable of winning it all."
It is understood Eastern have applied for an AFC club licence and if they do win the league, they will have the chance to represent Hong Kong in the AFC Champions League qualifying play-off competition in 2016.
The ambitious club have set aside a budget of more than HK$20 million for the new season with financial backing from Salon, an entertainment conglomerate based in Macau.
Although Eastern did not sign any new overseas players this summer, they lured seasoned expatriates already proven in Hong Kong - Sean Kilama, Michel Lugo and Reinaldo Peres from Sun Hei, Miroslav Saric from Rangers and number one goalkeeper Yapp Hung-fai, from South China.
Defending champions Kitchee, traditional powerhouses South China and up-and-coming Sun Pegasus are all eying domestic success with similar budgets for the season.
There will be three cup competitions in the inaugural Hong Kong Premier League season - the Senior Shield, the FA Cup and the League Cup, which is being re-introduced after Kitchee last lifted the trophy in 2012.