Hong Kong will enter two teams in the proposed All-China League which is scheduled to kick off in November, 2000. The two best clubs in the Hong Kong First Division will join teams from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou in the new competition which organisers hope can be the prelude to an Asian Super League five years down the line. 'Plans are well advanced and it is hoped that initially five teams will play in the All-China League. Two from Hong Kong, the Chinese Agricultural University from Beijing, the PLA from Guangzhou and one team from Shanghai,' said Mark Thomas, a Shanghai-based businessman and one of the people behind the idea. While Beijing and Guangzhou are expected to field wholly Chinese sides, Shanghai will have a mix of expatriates and Chinese. The Chinese Rugby Football Association, the governing body of the game in the mainland, is fully supportive of the idea and will be represented by its secretary-general Walter Li Gaochao at a meeting this weekend in Shanghai where the blueprint will be finalised. The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union will send secretary Clement Lau and assistant director K. K. Chiu to the meeting. 'We hope this tournament will further stimulate the growth of rugby in both Hong Kong and China,' said Lau yesterday. 'The biggest issues facing us presently are financing and visas. But these are not insurmountable. Everyone has been positive and this is the way forward,' said Thomas, who is also the director of the Shanghai Football Club. According to Lau, the estimated cost of staging the tournament will be more than $700,000 in its first year. 'We are talking to potential sponsors at the moment,' said Lau. It is expected that the HKRFU will have to bear the major share of the costs initially. League champions Valley and Hong Kong Football Club could fly the SAR flag in the new tournament. 'If last season's results count, then one would expect Valley and Club to be the two local teams. But we might have a competition in September to decide which two teams will enter this new tournament,' said Chiu. He confirmed that the PLA Sports Institute would continue to play in the Hong First Division next season. 'They have verbally committed themselves for next season too. It will be the third consecutive year they will appear in the local First Division,' said Chiu. Looking ahead to the future, Thomas said: 'This league can develop into a bigger one with eight to 10 teams participating. The ultimate goal would be in creating an Asian Super League with top clubs taking part from all over the region. 'At the moment the better teams in China don't have enough rugby. This tournament is a natural progression. Where it goes from here will depend on how successful it is. But I believe that this tournament has great scope,' added Thomas.