South China fans slam club’s decision to quit Hong Kong Premier League

Facebook awash with negative responses as club opts to play in the First Division

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 June, 2017, 5:37pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 June, 2017, 11:13pm

Disgruntled South China fans have slammed the club’s management for their decision to pull out of the Premier League for next season.

There were over 200 comments after the South China Athletic Association, the parent body of the soccer team, posted on Facebook on Monday evening their decision to play in the second-tier First Division “to focus on youth development”.

One fan said “this is going to be the end of an era” while another accused the management of destroying an old organisation with a history of over 100 years, pointing out that “the soccer team was set up before the [Hong Kong Football Association] even came into existence”.

“This is unheard of. Wouldn’t the Premier League be a more competitive environment for the youngsters? Why do you need to drop a division to focus on youth development? They are not mutually exclusive,” said another.

South China’s soccer team was formed in 1904 by a group of soccer enthusiasts in Tai Hang with the aim of strengthening Chinese soccer in Southern China.

They joined the Hong Kong Football Association in 1916 and four years later, it was expanded into a multi-sport association with the name South China Athletic Association.

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The soccer team has won 41 top flight championships with the biggest fan base in Hong Kong sports.

A fan said youth development was only an excuse and urged the management to admit they have no interest in running the soccer team, while another jokingly said the golf driving range, which shares facilities with the team, can now take priority.