THE new Hong Kong Stadium continued to be dogged by controversy yesterday as members of the Urban Council's Liquor Licensing Board questioned whether it was a suitable venue at which to serve alcohol. The board was considering the stadium's application for a permanent liquor licence, but referred the matter back to the council's standing committee for a final decision. The meeting took place amid increasing hype over the Rugby Sevens tournament this weekend, an occasion traditionally associated with beer drinking. Wembley International, the management company for the stadium, has applied to the police for a temporary liquor licence to cover the event. This application will be considered today. Operations manager Richard Knight was optimistic about its chances of success. ''Let's just say we've had assurances that the licence will be granted,'' he said last night. The chairman of the Liquor Licensing Board, Wong Hon-ching, said it had referred the matter back to the standing committee so other Urban Council members could comment. The move would also give members of the public a chance to raise any concerns. He said the board's biggest concern was the steepness of the concourse in the stadium, which he said could be dangerous. ''We need to consider whether the stadium is a suitable venue for people to drink liquor, because some people may become overexcited and may cause a disturbance or something like that,'' he said. ''We also need to consider whether the applicant is able to manage or look after the place after a licence is granted because it is such a large place, with 40,000 spectators.'' Mr Knight, seeking to allay concerns, said that no drinking would be allowed in the upper tiers of the stadium where families could be seated. All the drinkers would be seated downstairs. ''It's a good-natured audience. It's not as if it's a football crowd or anything,'' he said. Fears the stadium's commercial viability would be threatened if it were denied a permanent liquor licence were dismissed by Mr Wong. The Director of Audit should investigate the Hong Kong Stadium controversy, legislator Cheung Man-kwong said yesterday. He asked whether the taxpayer should be expected to contribute any more money for such a ''white elephant'' which was not suitable for pop concerts and was too expensive for sports events. ''Both the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the stadium are the joint product of the Jockey Club and the Government, and they all end up in a mess,'' Mr Cheung said at yesterday's Legislative Council meeting.