Derek Currie, a stalwart of Hong Kong football since the 1970s, has echoed what many believe to be the obvious solution to the plight of the SAR's top flight - legalise soccer betting. The former Rangers and Seiko star says the FA should not throw in the towel on its professional league yet as betting offers a clear chance to rescue it from the doldrums. Only a day after Hong Kong FA chairman Martin Hong Po-kui admitted that the ailing league could soon be downgraded to semi-professional status, Currie insisted: 'The professional league isn't finished yet.' But he admitted he was disappointed with dwindling attendances. He said putting back a percentage of tax revenues from legalised soccer betting is the 'best and logical option' for saving Hong Kong football. 'The HKFA is in a very difficult situation but it's silly to put your hands up and to say go back to being semi-professional. Every successful corporation needs capital and the HKFA needs capital. We need money to keep the football machine working,' he said. 'Unless someone puts money into the game, the kids will not have any prospects of playing professionally here.' The SAR Government is assessing the submissions of a public consultation on soccer gambling but even if it gets approval, soccer betting is unlikely to be legalised in time for next summer's World Cup in Japan and South Korea. 'The local league is being overshadowed by overseas football. Sponsorship isn't working for the domestic league because commercial companies are not spending as much money as before,' said Currie. 'But millions of dollars still go to [illegal] soccer betting. It's so logical to legalise. I'll be happy if I know two or three dollars of every $100 I bet will go to help Hong Kong football. We're talking about hundreds of millions of dollars for Hong Kong football.' The no-nonsense Currie said people should not look back to his heyday when full-house crowds of more than 20,000 would watch top teams such as Seiko, South China and Rangers at the old Hong Kong Stadium. 'Life is positive. We should take steps forward, not backwards. The good old days are for memories,' Currie said. He believes Hong Kong's league and the national team can go from strength to strength if they receive financial backing through legalised betting. 'Football is the number one sport in Hong Kong. We've got to have a good national team. That's the source of pride. There's no reason why Hong Kong cannot supply good players and become a super football nation. China had also been in the doldrums for a long time. Everyone wants to watch their own local game and local teams. 'We would all like to see Hong Kong qualify for the World Cup like China did. It's a dream. The world's top footballers are making millions of dollars. That should give kids in Hong Kong something to aspire to.' Currie suggested how the tax revenues might help. 'We can set up an academy to nurture kids from five years old up to 15 or 16. They will have to go through an apprenticeship and then they will be able to earn money to support their family. 'For the clubs, we could support them in terms of incentives or prize money so that they could get money per point they win in the league and per round they advance in the knock-out tournaments. 'They would be able to sign better players from overseas and raise the standard of the game here again.'