A MEMBER of the Bills Committee which recommended a need for localisation in Hong Kong sport has criticised the Sports Development Board for extending the contract of their chief executive Howard Wells. Englishman Wells was last month given a one-year extension to his contract, which will keep him in his post until at least April, 1996. Legislative Councillor Fred Li Wah-ming said yesterday he was disappointed that little effort was made to groom a local successor to replace Wells in 1995. But another legislative councillor, Christine Loh Kung-wai, who chaired the Bills Committee which examined the merger of the Sports Development Board and the Hong Kong Sports Institute in January, said quality should not be forsaken in the rush to localise. Said Li: ''I don't believe that in the local market, we do not have the relevant person to take up this job. ''We have a lot of good people around in the academic field and a lot of people involved in sport and still we allow an expatriate to hold such an important job. ''The Bills Committee did not put any strong pressure on this issue but only voiced our concern. I cannot reverse the decision but can only regret it. I don't think they have done enough market research to find a local candidate.'' Loh feels a one-year extension to Wells' contract does not necessarily detract from a policy of localisation. ''If it was for five years, then that would be different,'' said Loh. ''It is a limited extension and does not indicate that there is no localisation on the cards. ''They may not have someone they can put in that position right now.'' She said that she would not object to an expatriate holding the position after Wells' contract is up in 1996 if a suitable candidate was not available locally. ''The Bills Committee did discuss the practicality of localisation,'' said Loh. ''I'm not in favour of compromising quality for the sake of localisation.'' Wells did not want to comment yesterday. He has held the top position at the SDB since the body's formation in April, 1989. Wells has many supporters within local sport, but people in some circles believe that the SDB hierarchy are not committed to the process of localisation. Last year, accounting firm Coopers & Lybrand were asked to provide a consultancy report on the workings of the SDB. They suggested last October that the position of associate director be created and filled by a local candidate who can be groomed to one day take over the top job. It is understood that the SDB, 10 months after the report came out, are now taking steps to make the position a reality. Last week, Englishman Dennis Whitby was named as successor to Australian Paul Brettell as director of the Hong Kong Sports Institute. But it is at the administrative level, namely the SDB, at which many would like to see more local faces.