Hong Kong will be invited to join tournaments in mainland Chinese provinces and cities after the handover of the territory next summer. And the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) will host an exhibition international tournament to celebrate the historic event. HKFA chairman Stewart Lee Leung-nang and other local senior sports officials, including the executive director of the Sports Development Board Andrew Ma and local sports supremo Henry Fok, paid an official visit to Beijing last week. The delegation met Chinese vice-premier Qian Qichen, state councillor Li Tieying, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) Wang Fengchao and Chinese sports premier Wu Shaozu during their four-day stay in the Chinese capital. The Chinese reconfirmed that Hong Kong sports bodies would remain independent but deputy director of the HKMAO Wang said the name of the Hong Kong delegates would have to be changed to 'China-Hong Kong'. Lee said Hong Kong would be welcome to participate in provincial football competitions. 'The Beijing visit mainly concerned the status of Hong Kong sports in general after July 1, 1997, but we have briefly discussed the future of football in Hong Kong,' he said. He said they had talked about the possibility of Hong Kong clubs joining the China Professional League. 'The Chinese officials said it was not the time for Hong Kong clubs to play in the China Professional League but individual provinces or cities will invite us to compete in their local tournaments,' said Lee. Hong Kong First Division club South China have expressed their intention to participate in the China Professional League after 1997. Lee added the HKFA would remain independent after the handover. 'The HKFA will be the same. We don't have to change our name or logo. The association will be run as it is being run now,' he said. HKFA vice-president Veronica Chan, who also visited Beijing in her capacity as the Hong Kong Ladies' Football Association president, said the association would host an exhibition match to celebrate the handover of the territory. 'We have a rough plan of the tournament and it will be discussed in the council meeting next Tuesday,' Chan said. 'We are looking to invite national sides from China, Japan or South Korea to play in the territory. 'We need to further discuss it with the Football Association of the People's Republic of China as we did not have much chance to meet in Beijing last week.' Hong Kong may also have a chance to participate in the All-China National Games in September, 1997 in Shanghai. 'We are keen to send our national football team there but it all depends on the Amateur Sports Federation and Olympic Committee,' Lee said. Meanwhile, the HKFA is to start negotiations with the three local television stations later this week over telecast rights for next season. 'We are finalising what the HKFA is looking for and then we will start mutual discussions with the three stations,' said Guy Horne, sales and marketing director of the HKFA's marketing agents, ISL Asia Pacific . The exclusive telecast rights are held by TVB but its rivals, ATV and Cable TV, are also keen to get the rights next season.