Happy Valley and Tuen Mun football clubs suspended from league amid match-fixing probe

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 February, 2014, 3:47am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 February, 2014, 9:15am

First Division soccer clubs Happy Valley and Tuen Mun have been suspended from league fixtures for the rest of the season amid an investigation into alleged match-fixing.

A Hong Kong Football Association committee, set up to oversee the investigation, said last night that the two clubs had "fallen below the standard expected of professional football" and were "likely to have brought the game into disrepute".

The two clubs had been unable to prove they were "viable football clubs", it said.

The suspension relates only to First Division and FA Cup matches - it does not affect the clubs' reserve division or youth teams.

The HKFA also recommended the conduct of former Tuen Mun player, Li Ming, who is at the centre of the investigation, be referred to the Asian Football Confederation and Fifa.

The HKFA said it would address the wider implications of the suspensions, such as how the results of matches involving the clubs would be reflected in the league table.

Mark Sutcliffe, the HKFA chief executive, thanked the committee "for its expeditious and diligent consideration of these serious matters".

"The board of directors has made difficult decisions based solely on fact," he said. "This reflects the determination of the HKFA to uphold the highest standard of club governance."

The committee also recommended more stringent rules on governance and financial viability when the new Hong Kong Premier League starts this year.

The committee said on its creation it was not duplicating an investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption, which arrested six Happy Valley players last month.