Yee Hope threaten to quit top flight

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 January, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 January, 1999, 12:00am

First Division club Yee Hope have threatened to pull out of the league if the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) doesn't get its act together.

Fed up by the poor standard of refereeing and the general set-up of the league, Yee Hope officials yesterday demanded that the local governing body improve on areas they think are severely lacking, or face the prospect of a seven-club league.

Yee Hope president Joe Chan Leung said his club were competing in an 'uncomfortable' league, in which persistent problems had been the order of the day.

He said the HKFA has consistently turned a 'blind eye' to matters that needed attention and that it was 'very difficult' for his team to continue competing.

Yee Hope are particularly incensed that defender Steve Watson was sent off during last week's Ericsson League clash with South China, which the Caroliners won 4-2.

'The refereeing problem, or the poor standard of local refereeing, is just half the problem. We are merely voicing our concern over the state of the sport here. We just hope the HKFA can sit down and discuss the matter, because it needs urgent attention,' said Chan.

Yee Hope are being supported by their FA representative, Peter Leung, who also voiced concern about the state of the game here.

'For example, we sent a letter to the HKFA complaining about the refereeing in one of Yee Hope's game in October. After three months, we still haven't even received a word from the HKFA. This is not right. We should be able to get some response from the HKFA,' said Leung.

'If the matter is confidential, then they should tell us. It's okay if they do, because then at least we know they have responded to it.

'We might be second from the bottom of the league at the moment, but that doesn't mean we don't exist.' Chan said Yee Hope would withdraw from the league if they don't see any improvement during the next couple of weeks.

'We could pull out without any warning. We don't want to attack the HKFA, we just want to reason with them and discuss matters in depth,' the club's president said.

'We know that the HKFA has tried to improve local refereeing standards. They have had courses and the referees are supposed to meet every Wednesday to review videotapes of games.

'How many referees do you think turn up for these meetings?' queried Leung.

Yee Hope also complained that even the technical side of the game was suffering and that clubs had not been consulted when the Hong Kong team were selected for this month's Hong Kong-Guangdong Cup.

'Are we supposed to be playing the Brazilian way in the league just because we have a Brazilian coach? Some decisions made by the coach left a lot to be desired,' said Yee Hope head coach Jeff Li Ping-hung.

Chan said the HKFA should also try to improve spectator etiquette during games.

'It's not nice to hear verbal abuse being hurled at the referee every time he steps on to the pitch. We hear spectators swearing at referees all the time,' said Chan.

'This should stop. I suggest the HKFA should figure out ways to blacklist certain spectators from making these disgusting attacks on referees.' More soccer - Page 25