A 'GIFT from the gods' was how A. de O. Sales described the windfall that landed in the lap of Hong Kong sport this week. The 'Godfather' of local sport was talking about a trust fund of more than $60 million, which will be set up this month to ensure the territory's sporting future. Without any fanfare, and with hardly any fuss, the Amateur Sport Federation and Olympic Committee (ASF&OC), over which Sales presides, has been putting aside money for the proverbial rainy day. That day has not arrived - and it is to be hoped that it won't - but the territory's sporting associations will be pleasantly surprised to find that the amount exceeds their wildest dreams. Sixty million, or more, is not peanuts. But this is what the territory's Olympic body has put aside in the last half-century, and which will now be put into a trust fund to bolster the fortunes of local sport. It will be called the 'A. de O. Sales Sports Trust Fund', with Sales being made a life-long managing trustee. There will be two other managing trustees who will be up for election every four years, and a custodian trustee - the HongkongBank. Comments have been passed that this is tantamount to Sales having control of the territory's Olympic movement and sporting associations for life. Not far off the mark for a man who has dedicated his whole life to lifting the profile of local sport. But it would be wrong to think that he was alone in setting up this fund. It has been in the making for the past two years, been discussed at many meetings of the ASF&OC executive committee, and has seen members unanimously move to name it after Hong Kong's best-known sports administrator. 'The members insisted that it be named after me . . . I accepted on the grounds that it was not going to be a memorial fund,' joked Sales. His ability to see the lighter side of life has not blinded him to the need to put in place a secure system that will be used to ensure the promotion and advancement of sport generally in Hong Kong; the establishment or upgrading of sports facilities for both able and disabled competitors and for the public; the provision of grants and scholarships for administrators and athletes; and the provision of awards for outstanding athletes. In a nutshell, these are the objectives of the trust fund. 'The fund must be run with honesty and integrity for the benefit of sport. Otherwise I reserve the right to withdraw my name,' warned Sales, who places great emphasis on fair play. The multi-million dollar reserve fund must have been one of the best-kept secrets in town. It was raised solely through hard work by the ASF&OC in fund-raising events, from its income from royalties or proceeds from the use of emblems, symbols or logos of the International Olympic Committee, and proceeds of IOC solidarity programmes. No overheads and the voluntary nature of the elected leadership present within the ASF&OC have also greatly helped boost the nest-egg. 'This money was built up over the past 50 years. We are very proud that it was raised without us having to go cap-in-hand to any individual or organisation,' said Sales. 'We have prudently and wisely invested it and the results are there for everyone to see,' he added. Wisely is putting it mildly. The bulk of the money derives from shares in HongkongBank. The ASF&OC currently has 242,236 Bank shares. It also has shares in other blue-chip companies like Hong Kong Electric, Hong Kong Land, Dairy Farm, Jardines and Mandarin Oriental. Money for jam in the bank. But the ASF&OC does not just stow it and throw away the key. They need a current account to meet bills - principally to pay the annual international subscriptions of its 50-odd ordinary and associate members. Over the years, the ASF&OC has charged an annual fee of $100 for ordinary members and $50 for associate members. In turn it pays the international subscriptions, which run into thousands. On top of this, associations don't pay a cent to go to international games, with the ASF&OC meeting the shortfall after the Government's subsidy. The annual dinners, the incentive schemes and so on, all add up to a hefty bill. Despite all these expenses, the ASF&OC has still managed to put aside money to build up a fund. Remarkable. Hong Kong sport's grand old man calls it: 'a gift from the gods'. Cynics will immediately say that this is his way of climbing Mount Olympus. But for a man who is in some quarters almost deified it is just another means of ensuring his hold on sport is not weakened. Many will welcome this.