Hong Kong’s domestic football season could be abandoned after the government decided to extend existing Covid-19 social-distancing measures to April 20, a senior official has said. Pui Kwan-kay, the Hong Kong Football Association chairman, said he feared for the future of the current season after Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor made the announcement on Tuesday with Covid-19 infections surging across the city. The 2021-22 season is expected to conclude in May, but no games have been played since early January and there are still 10 rounds of league matches to get through. Pui also pointed out that most players only had contracts until May. Any move to cancel the season would also have a knock-on effect for those clubs with eyes on regional competitions, as places in the Asian Champions Leagues and AFC Cup are decided on domestic standings. “We have already suspended all matches since early January when the government closed all of its sports venues, and we don’t know if these venues will be reopened in April under the current pandemic situation,” Pui said. “At this moment, no one knows when we can restart the season, in April or May, or in the worst scenario to abandon the remaining season. Although no one wants to see it happen as it also involves teams that will represent Hong Kong in next year’s regional cup competitions. “We will continue to talk to the authorities to get a better picture of when we can restart the season, even at the expense of playing the matches behind closed doors under a safety bubble, and also discuss the matter with the clubs to get their views.” Omicron surge throws football season into doubt as Hong Kong extends lockdown There are eight teams in the BOC Premier League this season but so far only four rounds out of a total 14 have been completed. According to the schedule, there will also be a play-off round, with the top four teams going to a championship group and the bottom four to a challenge group before the season ends. Apart from the league competition, there are also two cup competitions for this season – the Sapling Cup and the FA Cup. The Sapling Cup still has more than 20 matches remaining under a double round robin system, while in the FA Cup, only the final between Eastern and Kitchee is left. Originally set to take place at Hong Kong Stadium on February 1, the final was suspended after the fifth wave of the pandemic began ripping through the city. Pui said the Sapling Cup would be the first competition to be axed to make way for the league if they do not have sufficient time to finish the season, while the FA Cup final should be able to take place, as it will be easier to find a time slot for a single match. Hong Kong prepares ‘sports bubble’ in bid to host international football The Football Association has already started to ask the clubs for their views, and will meet on Friday to discuss the matter further. Philip Lee Fai-lap, the executive director of BC Rangers, believes the season is likely to be abandoned as there are too many uncertainties brought on by the pandemic. “Even if the stadiums can be reopened in April, we still need time for the players to get back to match fitness as we have stopped training for several months,” Lee said. “There will be limited time left for the season as most of the players will finish their contracts in May. If we continue the season in June or even later, we may end up with no players.” Rangers striker Leandro Basan, who has scored 12 goals in 10 games this season, left the club on Wednesday as he did not want to wait any more without knowing when the next game would be, and has headed back to his home in Argentina.