The three district soccer teams in the Hong Kong First Division will get a kick-start next season with a cash handout from the government. Wofoo Tai Po, Tuen Mun and newly-promoted Sham Shui Po will each receive HK$500,000. It is a drop in the ocean when set against the finances of the richest club sides - South China's budget is estimated at between HK$13 million and HK$14 million. But Home Affairs deputy secretary Jonathan McKinley, who is responsible for sport, said: 'We want to encourage the district teams and create a feel-good factor within each community. 'Sport can be a good rallying point for the community and we have made a conscious decision that to best promote football, we will have to start by doing it at district level.' The government is pumping millions of dollars into soccer as a part of Project Phoenix, a scheme to transform the game in the city that has won the approval of the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA). It has allocated HK$5 million next season to help district teams in all the local leagues. But HKFA director Wilson Wong Wai-shun said that because all three First Division teams were supported by district councils and operated by sports associations within the councils, the move also had a political element. He said: 'There is a strong government element to the district teams, which are almost semi-government. 'I think this move is partly soccer and partly politics. The government wants to create a good atmosphere in the districts. They want teenagers to be involved in sport and support their district teams. 'In this way, hopefully, all the youth problems can be solved. This is more than sport - it is a way to solve social ills.' Tuen Mun club chairman Junius Ho Kwan-yiu said: 'Half a million dollars is not really a big amount, but as a first step it is a good one. Hopefully, this money will help us develop our game and stay in the First Division next season, too.' Tuen Mun escaped relegation by finishing eighth in the standings. Ho said their first season in the top league had been an eye-opener and created a lot of interest in the district. Tuen Mun played their home games at the 1,100 capacity Tang Shiu Kin Sports Ground, a facility shared with the public. Ho added: 'We had a full crowd on two or three occasions, especially when South China visited us. There was good public support and I hope this can grow.' Ho said a new ground next to Tuen Mun pier would be ready by the end of the year. Chan Ping, secretary of Wofoo Tai Po, who finished fifth, said: 'It is not much, yet it is very good and will help support us.' McKinley said the money cannot be used to pay players and must be used to cover other expenses, such as administration, team transport, medical costs and coaching. Ho said district council rules on how the clubs could spend money needed to be relaxed. He said: 'The district council has very restrictive rules, one of which is you cannot spend more than HK$265 on equipment for a player. 'This is crazy when a pair of boots can cost you more than HK$1,000. The rules must be relaxed, otherwise all this money will not be spent.'