Will the Progoal episode be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back - in this case, the chances of Brian Leung Hung-tak extending his tenure as chairman of the Hong Kong Football Association for another two years? The HKFA is mired in financial quicksand. Members of the executive board were shocked to learn there was only HK$200,000 in the kitty as working capital, from HK$15 million two years ago when Leung first took control. The biggest loss-maker was the Lunar New Year tournament, which went into the red by HK$4.6 million. The dire financial straits have added to the general air of gloom hanging over Ho Man Tin as we also hear the majority of the clubs are unhappy under the present regime. Especially 'rebel' First Division side Tuen Mun Progoal, who have been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Sometimes you have to make a sacrifice to push home your point. Just ask Progoal, who copped a record HK$100,000 fine for going against the dictates of the HKFA. Progoal 'invaded' the pitch with a banner saying, 'We Play With Dignity' after winning a First Division match at Mong Kok Stadium. A handful of fans - 1,022 - plus some irate officials and bemused security guards watched the team flout FA orders. The association had refused permission for Progoal to display the banner. So why did Progoal run the risk of being fined? Club officials knew it would cost them money, but they wanted to make a point - they were innocent of match-fixing. Progoal became the most talked-about club in town after capitulating to a 5-1 defeat to Happy Valley. Nothing odd in that. You win some, you lose some. But Progoal captain Cheung Tin-tak created a storm when he wrote in his blog that his mainland teammates failed to give their best, resulting in the team conceding four goals in the last seven minutes. Cheung, a teacher by day, accused the mainlanders of playing for '$$$$$$$' and quit the team. The FA called in the ICAC to help investigate whether there was evidence of match-fixing. We cannot comment on whether Cheung was right, or if he was just reacting in the heat of the moment and pointing fingers at his teammates. We cannot say if the mainlanders just ran out of juice or if it was a fiasco and they succumbed to a fistful of dollars. The only hard evidence we have is that Progoal have conceded 95 league goals from 24 games - the highest number by any team - and are 11th of 13 teams in the standings. Perhaps it is time they looked at beefing up their defence so they can really play with dignity. But as for match-fixing, let's leave it to the graft-busters to prove if it really took place. Our concern revolves more around the HKFA's handling of the issue, which has been Keystone Cops at best. The FA has a raft of rules surrounding ground security. The public are not allowed to carry banners, or even flags - a commonplace item at most games overseas - unless they get prior permission. Knowing the rules, Progoal applied to the HKFA to display their banner. The HKFA denied them the permission. Why they did that is beyond comprehension. It is not as if Progoal were going to unfurl a banner which told the HKFA to go fly a kite. All they wanted was to plead their innocence before their own fans. But the HKFA refused to come down from its high horse. 'Ground security is very important,' HKFA deputy general secretary Lam Shing-kui said. It is mystifying how a simple banner with just four words threatened the fans at Mong Kok. We talk so much about freedom of speech. Wasn't this banner ban a curtailment on the rights of Progoal to state their case? The reason that ground security was at stake is pure horse manure. What really bugged the HKFA was Progoal went against its orders. Lam admitted as much when he added: 'We knew Progoal had brought the banner to the stadium and warned them not to take it on to the pitch, but they simply ignored us'. So loss of face also comes into the picture. And this meant Progoal had to pay for showing contempt - a record HK$100,000 penalty, which is a lot of money for a struggling club. Two officials were also banned for 10 games, and goalkeeper Zhou Zhanhong was handed a six-match ban. Leung defended the decision to penalise Progoal, saying: 'We must respect the decision of the [disciplinary] committee as it is made up of individual members who have no interest in any club. Many of them are retired government officials from various law enforcement departments and are experienced in handling disciplinary matters.' Ex-government officials will only act in one way. They go by the book, affronted that 'law and order' had been flouted. Leung might now live to regret how the HKFA handled this case. Instead, of showing a bit of commonsense and allowing Progoal to display the banner, the knee-jerk response to the request was to ban it. Next month, the 58 clubs meet to vote on who will run the HKFA for the next two years. The unpleasantness stemming from the Progoal incident might just add more impetus to an apparent groundswell of opposition against Leung. He will soon know if four little words cost him his chair at the head table.