Top international soccer teams will be invited to play in Hong Kong every summer to raise the profile of the game here after the success of recent exhibition games involving Real Madrid and Liverpool. Patrick Ho Chi-ping, the secretary for home affairs, said the major events committee - one of three panels of the new Sports Commission - would be responsible for making the arrangements. 'The international game is not just a show,' Dr Ho said. 'By playing with the more talented players, standards [of local teams] can be enhanced. Besides, a superb game can lure a bigger audience. The ticket fees collected can then increase the operational income of the soccer teams and the players' livelihood will then be enhanced.' The Real Madrid match was a huge success, with nearly 40,000 people filling the Hong Kong Stadium to get a glimpse of its superstars such as Ronaldo and David Beckham. Tickets for the match sold out the night they went on sale, leaving hundreds of fans disappointed. Dr Ho said other possible ways to help the development of soccer in Hong Kong included building more artificial grass pitches, inviting international coaches to train players, and devising youth development programmes. He said a long-term policy on soccer development would be finalised after wider consultation. The Home Affairs Bureau conducted a poll on August 15-31 to gauge the public's views on soccer development. More than 55 per cent of the 1,200 residents interviewed by telephone, and 78.5 per cent of 1,200 people who play soccer in their spare time said local matches failed to attract the public. More than 77 per cent of both groups attributed the game's lack of appeal to the low standard of professional football in Hong Kong. They also felt local soccer teams were not attractive enough for youngsters to consider making football a career, mainly because they offered gloomy prospects and low salaries. Nevertheless, 80 per cent of the first group and 95 per cent of soccer players felt the government should develop the game. Andrew Cheng Kar-foo, a Democratic Party lawmaker and an avid soccer player, supported the government's plan, but said the most important thing was to nurture young players. 'Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether all the measures will materialise,' he said.