The Hong Kong Sports Institute could receive up to $80 million a year from the Government after its funds dry up in April next year. The Government's Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Bureau said it expects the Institute will need '$70 million to $80 million' a year to supplement its income after April, 1998. However, the Bureau has yet to work out in what form the money will be given - whether as a large lump sum over several years or on an annual basis. The Institute, which specialises in training elite athletes, spent around $120 million during the last financial year. 'We have made a public commitment to the Institute and this remains a priority for the Bureau,' said Jonathan McKinley, the Bureau's principal assistant secretary. 'The Institute feel they will run out of funds sometime next year and it is important that something is done to ensure they continue to train elite athletes. 'They say they spent $120 million last year, but they also do have some income, sponsorship and some of their trust fund left. I would say they would be looking at $70 million to $80 million from the Government to fulfil their potential as a centre for elite athletes.' McKinley said he hopes a decision will be made within the next two months and that the Institute's financial needs will be taken into account in the SAR Government's budget for 1998/99. Last year, Coopers & Lybrand Consultants were commissioned by the Government to produce a report on ways of reducing the Institute's spending. In response, the Institute remodelled its scholarship programme, cutting a few less successful sports and setting up a Focus Sport scheme, in which 12 sports were eligible for full-time support. 'We are quite happy with the Coopers report and the Focus Sport programme,' said McKinley. 'In terms of how we will deal with the Institute financing, a lot is based on the report and also from talking to the people at the Institute and the Sports Development Board. 'The main issue now is the mechanics of how the Institute is to be financed. There are a few possibilities. We could set up a whole new fund, we could give them, say, $500 million over five years, or give them $60 million for the first year and see if they need more later on in the year. 'But we definitely feel the Institute needs attention and we are not allowing this issue to just drift.' Andrew Ma, the SDB's chief executive, said any requests for financing the Institute will be based on the Coopers report. 'We have started work on our preliminary budget and the figure will be in the range of what Mr McKinley said [$80 million],' said Ma. 'We have guidelines from the [Coopers] report and will pretty much follow them. 'One of the really key issues is the method of funding.' The Institute is now using the last of a $350 million Jockey Club divestment made in 1982, when the complex was known as the Jubilee Sports Centre. That money is due to run out next April and the Institute, an integral part of Hong Kong's sports development, is in need of government help to ensure its future.