Fiasco over Hong Kong Premier League promotion not our fault, say Tai Po Football Club
Team, who won just one game out of 16 matches in the 2014-15 season, is ready to be 10th team for next term after First Division sides decline promotion
Relegated Tai Po have rejected claims that their decision to accept an invitation from the Hong Kong Football Association to stay in the top flight makes a mockery of the Premier League's promotion-relegation system.
The Hong Kong Football Association wants 10 teams in the Premier League, from nine last season. But First Division champions Metro Gallery Sun Source declined promotion for financial reasons, while runners-up Hong Kong Football Club did the same to keep their amateur status
This left third-placed Southern as the only team coming up from the second tier and that prompted the HKFA to ask Tai Po to return.
"In the first place, we did not ask to stay in the top flight," said Tai Po secretary Chan Ping.
"The invitation only came after clubs in the lower division did not take up a promotion offer. The association wants to have a 10-team league next season.
"As a member club, we have an obligation to support the Premier League, especially as it is still in its infancy."
Tai Po had just one win from 16 league matches last season.
"We have, in principle, agreed to stay as we still need ratification from the district council," said Chan. "But that should not be a problem and we have already approached sponsors for support. Their response has been very positive.
"Our target remains the same. We want to provide our young players with more playing opportunities and help develop district soccer. If we can secure more commercial support, we can form a competitive side to challenge for titles."
Chan said they had set aside a budget of HK$8 million, but that would depend on sponsors.
District clubs receive government support of HK$1.5 million plus a subsidy from their local council.