SOCCER and rugby stand to benefit if the Urban Services Department successfully bids for control of the military pitch at So Kon Po. The USD has made a bid to the Government to gain control of the site adjacent to the Indian Recreation Club, but will compete against bids from other organisations, one of which is believed to be from the disciplined services. The So Kon Po site was slated for redevelopment following June's landmark deal between Britain and China outlining the future of military sites in Hong Kong. But a spokesman for the USD said yesterday that he is hopeful the pitch will continue to serve as a training and competition venue for sports. 'We are under tremendous pressure from rugby and football for training pitches,' said the spokesman. 'We would be able to fit two football-cum-rugby pitches on the site, but we are just one of several bids. 'We have to write to the Government with a request and justification of why we should have this site.' The grass pitch is approximately 300 metres by 80 metres and is used often for soccer training and junior division matches. The spokesman expects a decision to be made in the near future. Hong Kong sport is already set to lose several other key British military pitches as a result of the Sino-British deal. Apart from So Kon Po, grass pitches at King's Park British Military Hospital, Blackdown Barracks and Mission Road have been slated for redevelopment by the post-1997 Special Administrative Region Government. Two more sites, Stanley Fort and Sek Kong, will be handed over to the People's Liberation Army. This will put sports like rugby, soccer, cricket - which uses Mission Road regularly - and hockey under increasing strain to find suitable grass pitches to train on and hold competitions. The loss of these sites has placed even more emphasis on the development of New Territories landfill sites, which are being offered to sporting associations. The Sports Development Board have, since 1991, been lobbying the Government in an attempt to keep military sites as sporting venues after 1997. The SDB's former chairman, Sir William Purves, had written to the Government during his term, asking that they take sport into account when considering the fate of these sites. Hong Kong currently has a little more than 30 grass pitches for a population of six million compared to Singapore, which has more than 300 pitches for about three million people. The Hong Kong Cricket Association had also written to the Government expressing their concern over the pitches, particularly the 1.8-hectare Mission Road ground, which is to be transformed into a block of 256 flats. Cricket matches are held at Mission Road on at least 20 Saturdays and 20 Sundays throughout the year. The availability of pitches is crucial to both cricket and rugby's plans to promote their sports amongst the local Chinese community. Blackdown Barracks is to be converted into a 7.2-hectare space for 1,580 flats while King's Park will be redeveloped into 2,171 flats. The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union have been bemoaning the lack of pitches in the territory for some time.