Concessions for Guangzhou as mainlanders make up 11th confirmed club in Hong Kong Premier League
The club across the border now required to field a minimum of three Hong Kong players on the field but they need to pay a HK$1 million entry fee
Guangzhou R&F have been confirmed as the 11th team in the Hong Kong Premier League but several conditions have to be met first, which the mainland club have agreed.
In return, the Hong Kong Football Association has made concessions to include the mainland development side for the upcoming campaign, which begins at the end of the month.
Rather than fielding the initially suggested requirement of four Hong Kong players at one time on the pitch, the mainlanders will only need to field a minimum of three – but they still have to sign a total of eight Hong Kong players as a prerequisite.
“There have been ongoing discussions with Guangzhou and we are delighted a decision has been made and accepted by both sides,” said association chairman Brian Leung Hung-tak.
“It will definitely help local players for more playing opportunities and strengthen the competition as Guangzhou R&F are a quality side even if they are sending mainly a developmental side.
“We requested them to start four Hong Kong players at one time and they counter proposed by saying they wanted three which has been accepted by the board.
"We don’t consider this a concession as they still have to field four Hong Kong players for the 2017-18 season if they want to continue playing in our league.”
Guangzhou R&F will also be required to pay an entry fee of HK$1 million and the association will decide later as to how best to use the amount but the principle is that all Premier League clubs should benefit from the new funds.
The board also accepted Eastern’s withdrawal from the Asian regional competition for 2017 as Kitchee will take up the slot of playing either in the AFC Champions League or its qualifying round to be decided by the AFC while the second representive team from Hong Kong will be Southern, provided they can get an AFC licence if they play also in the Champions League. No licence is required for the second tier, the AFC Cup.