Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA)

Finally, preparation work is under way for the first dedicated training centre for Hong Kong soccer

After more than a decade of delay, the Tseung Kwan O Centre will become a reality by July 2017

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 December, 2016, 8:47pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 December, 2016, 11:05pm

After more than a decade of delay, preparation work is finally under way for the Tseung Kwan O Centre – the first ever dedicated training venue for Hong Kong soccer.

Initial work for construction of the 21-hectare horseshoe-like facility in the Sai Kung District has recently started, said Hong Kong Football Association chief executive Mark Sutcliffe.

It is expected to be completed by next July, when six standard-size pitches, three artificial and three natural, plus a fusal pitch, two mini five-a-side grounds and other support facilities such as an administration office, classrooms, gymnasium and changing rooms will become available.

“We need a little time for the staff to be trained and the pitches to be established. We will be able to use the pitches at the start of the season in September,” said Sutcliffe in a briefing on Thursday.

“We are incredibly excited about the project as it has taken a lot of time to get from the drawing board to the ground. The training centre will make a massive difference to the HKFA for the work we do in terms of our elite players’ development but also for community use for schools and other groups.”

The three grass pitches will be used exclusively for the Hong Kong representative teams from junior to senior levels and also the women’s teams, while two artificial pitches will be open for the public.

The venue is on a 10-year lease with the government but Sutcliffe is confident the case of the Kitchee training centre will not be repeated. The government said it would take back the land of the Kitchee centre in Shek Mun for a public housing project after its four-year lease is due next year.

“I am not concerned that the land will be taken away to use for something else as it is built on a former landfill site with a lot of constraints on what you can build on it. It can never be used for housing or other office buildings as far as I know,” said Sutcliffe.

A provisional Hong Kong Jockey Club amount of HK$103 million was provided in 2005 for building the soccer training centre, but the project stalled over a design model, operation costs, government red tape for construction and many other obstacles.

Sutcliffe did not want to give a final figure on the construction cost but it would be a project of over HK$100 million as the Jockey Club would provide all the required capital funding.

An annual operations cost of up to HK$5 million is expected, which will be absorbed by the association’s budget, and a subsidiary company will run the centre.