Tseung Kwan O Training Centre a far cry from ‘poor’ facilities past as Hong Kong soccer team prepare to reap the rewards
The Football Association hopes to take over the facility in April, which boasts a grass pitch of the same quality as HK Stadium
The long-awaited Tseung Kwan O Training Centre will be open in April boasting a grass pitch of the same quality as the Hong Kong Stadium in a bid to help improve the standard of Hong Kong’s soccer team.
Construction of the 24,000-square-metre facility is expected to be completed next month and then inspections by various government departments are required, with the Football Association hoping to take over the facility in April.
Of the six pitches, which include three natural grass and three artificial, pitch number one will be used exclusively for the Hong Kong representative team.
“The pitch has been inspected by Fifa and is built with the same construction profile as the Hong Kong Stadium pitch,” said association chief executive Mark Sutcliffe at a briefing on Tuesday.
“It is a sand-based pitch with Bermuda grass and the top quality facility will be used exclusively by the representative team with a maximum use of 10 to 12 hours a week as recommended by Fifa.”
Former Hong Kong team coach Kwok Ka-ming, now adviser of the association, said the new facility would definitely help the representative team.
“It will bring great benefits of training and playing on the same quality pitches and in fact we all know how poor the quality of the pitches where the Hong Kong team used to train,” said Kwok. “It could never be imagined of owning such a great facility during our days.”
Sutcliffe, however, refused to disclose the building cost of the centre, which is fully back by the Jockey Club. The idea of building a training centre on the former landfill site was first conceived in 2003 and it was not until September last year that construction finally started.
The centre also features a futsal ground and other supporting facilities such as teaching rooms, changing rooms, a gymnasium and storage areas.
Other than the representative team, Premier League clubs, members of the association, private clubs and the general public can also book the facility as the association needs to generate income to offset the running cost, which is estimated to be HK$10 million a year. However, the public can only use the artificial grounds.
“We need about 25 staff members to maintain the facility as it is quite an expensive operation and we are expecting a deficit of HK$5 million a year,” said Sutcliffe.
“The amount will be covered by us and we will have to find the money within the organisation’s budget, which reaches HK$100 million a year.”
Sutcliffe said they had yet to formulate a pricing structure for public use and added that the association has a 10-year lease on the facility.