CLUBS lending their registration to commercial sponsors will, in the future, be held responsible for financial problems arising from team backers pulling out. The Hong Kong Football Association decided on the new line of action last night to give professionals more protection following last season's Michelotti saga, which left the team owing players more than $1 million in wages. Sponsors can ''buy'' an existing club and be allowed to change the team name by paying the HKFA $350,000 over three seasons. Michelotti joined the First Division in the 1991-92 season after taking over Po Chai Pills' registration. They struggled through the first season with late payments before folding up heavily in debt in their second year. Three months ago, the HKFA Council nominated a five-member party to conduct an investigation to see if Po Chai Pills should be responsible for the Michelotti incident. Their report, however, has been withheld pending legal advice. ''The council realise we can't take any action against sponsors of a team should any problems arise, because they are not official members of the HKFA,'' said secretary Vincent Yuen Man-chuen. ''So, from now on, we [the HKFA] will only recognise contracts signed between players and the registered clubs, who will ultimately be held responsible for the team's affairs.'' This season, only two First Division teams are playing under their sponsors' names - Instant-Dict and Voicelink, who are using the registrations of Double Flower and Sea Bee, respectively. Meanwhile, HKFA chairman Stewart Lee Leung-nang said the association intended to propose a change of format for the Asian Club Championship and Asian Cup Winners Championship. He said: ''There have been too many problems with date arrangements under the home-and-away system this year and we will suggest to the Asian Football Confederation to have group matches instead. ''We had discussed this with Japanese officials and they agreed that the present format seriously affected their domestic programme as well.''