The Hong Kong Football Association has called for work to start on the proposed Tseung Kwan O Soccer Academy as soon as possible as projected construction costs have soared to HK$400 million. HKFA chairman Brian Leung Hung-tak said they wanted to use the academy to lift the standards of soccer after Hong Kong's stunning success at last month's East Asian Games, when they defeated a young Japanese side to clinch the gold medal. 'The building cost has gone up several times since we first agreed with the Jockey Club a sum of HK$103 million in 2005,' Leung said. 'The project has been postponed for many years and we have made an estimate of HK$400 million for the construction bill if we start it now with 10 football pitches, quarters for the players and other support services, such as a fitness training room, running trails, and a food hall. 'There is a great need for the academy as we have to strengthen our junior development programmes and provide training facilities for different levels of the national teams,' Leung said. 'The success at the East Asian Games has proved we can do well at a multi-sport games, but we must set up a long-term development programme so we can achieve more success on the international stage.' Leung believes the Jockey Club will not only provide the construction cost but also run the academy's operation, the way the club runs the Kau Sai Chau public golf course complex. The Jockey Club approved funding for the academy in 2005 but the project has been on hold, mainly due to indecision about who would run it and how it would sustain itself financially. 'It will be too risky for our association to run the academy as we also need government subvention to run our programmes and can hardly manage such a big project,' Leung said. 'The Jockey Club is financially healthy to run the academy. In fact, we will not be the only users of the academy. There are also many overseas teams who want to come to Hong Kong for winter training. That can generate additional revenue.' Leung said the government had also given him the impression it was keen to start the project as soon as possible. It is believed the government has drafted the academy into its football consultancy to be revealed in March and can expand the proposed 171,800 square metre site on a Tseung Kwan O landfill if necessary. The Jockey Club is awaiting the report before deciding its next step. 'If they [the Jockey Club] decide to take up the entire project, including its operations, they will make it a world-class facility,' said a source close to the project. Meanwhile, Leung said the Hong Kong team should shoot for a third-place finish at next month's East Asian Championship in Tokyo. South Korea, China and the hosts are the other teams in the tournament. 'They are the three best teams in the region, but everything is possible after our East Asia Games title,' said Leung.