Extend decision deadline, says Sales

HONGKONG'S Olympic chief A. de O. Sales has called for an extension to today's deadline for sports associations to book their places in the new Sports House.

Sales, the president of the Amateur Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hongkong, said more time should be given for sports associations to decide if they want to move into Sports House, part of the Royal Hongkong Jockey Club's $850 million redevelopment of the national stadium at So Kon Po.

The Sports Development Board, who will be managing the building, have set today's deadline so the architects can move in next week and work can be put out to tender. The whole project will be completed by April 1994.

Throughout discussions, Sales has said the SDB have handled the matter in a ''high-handed'' manner without proper consultation with the sports associations.

And as the deadline approached, Sales said last night: ''I suggest they give them more time. We have not put pressure on the associations and no-one is going to point a gun to our head.

''The associations meet every six weeks to two months and when our next meeting comes along that would be a good time to find out their views.

''We carry on in our usual way with the associations deciding. We are there to protect them; we make no threats.'' The SDB, who are responsible for distributing Government money to sport, say the new premises can accommodate 42 sports associations. Although several sports associations have their own headquarters, 24 are housed at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wan Chai.

The SDB have said that sports associations wishing to remain in the Queen Elizabeth Stadium may do so but feel it would be better for them, economically and facility-wise, to move to Sports House.

The executive director of the SDB, Howard Wells, said a statement would be given tonight to reveal the number of sports associations who had given a firm commitment to move and the number who had decided to stay.

He added that some associations had asked for further details and that discussions would continue with these associations after the deadline.

Sales feels sports associations would lose their autonomy if they were under the same roof as the Board.

The ASF & OC have been offered a 1,500 square foot self-contained office but Sales would not say if they were prepared to accept it by the deadline.

''No Olympic committee can submit to any such ultimatum,'' he said. ''The only deadline a National Olympic Committee meets is the closure of entries for the Olympic Games, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.'' If associations move out of the Queen Elizabeth Stadium, the vacant space will be re-allocated by the ASF & OC to associations which stay put.

''We have told the associations to tell the SDB that if they want to move by all means move but stay if they feel it is better for them. Anyone who knows sport knows there can be only one Olympic committee.

''I have spent my whole life in sport and public affairs and now there is a golden opportunity the people who should have been consulted were not consulted.

''The general conclusion has been that Sports House is not big enough, having regard for the space for the SDB and their bureaucracy.

''The whole thing is very unfortunate.''