Hong Kong has been denied the chance to host English Premier League giants Manchester United and their star player Cristiano Ronaldo this summer because authorities are unable to relax anti-coronavirus restrictions, including two weeks of quarantine, a top official said. Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) chairman Pui Kwan-kay said United, one of the world’s biggest sports teams, especially in Asia, were keen to play in Hong Kong but talks broke down over Covid-19 quarantine requirements. “They showed interest in coming to Hong Kong this summer and of course we welcome them because Manchester United has a great following here and there is no need to worry about the gate receipts,” Pui said. “Also, we want to instil more positive energy into the community during these hard times under the pandemic and an exciting international football match can certainly do the job. “However, the deal eventually fell through as the authorities were unable to make any promises on relaxing the strict quarantine requirements for overseas visitors, even if the match will not take place until several months later. And in the end the Premier League side of course chose not to come because no team can spare that amount of time for quarantine before playing a match.” Man City romp past Kitchee amid crowd protests Hong Kong has some of the world’s strictest Covid-19 laws as the city battles a fifth wave of infections, including two weeks of quarantine for visitors from the United Kingdom. Hong Kong’s stance comes as many countries start to open their borders in an attempt to “live with the virus”. It has been reported that United will travel to Asia this summer to play fellow Premier League side Liverpool in a preseason friendly in Bangkok in July before travelling to Australia to face Crystal Palace. Liverpool, meanwhile, will meet Palace in Singapore in another exhibition match. “Hong Kong is always a popular trip for Premier League sides to conduct preseason tours but because of the quarantine requirements, there is little we can do,” said Pui. “Many countries have or plan to open their borders despite the pandemic but unfortunately we still stick to a dynamic zero infection strategy, which make things difficult for us.” At the 2017 Premier League Asia Trophy, four English clubs: Liverpool, Leicester City, Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion, appeared in Hong Kong for the eighth edition of the tournament. The 40,000 seat Hong Kong Stadium was packed on both competition days with Liverpool taking home the trophy after defeating Leicester City 2-1 in the final through goals from Mohamed Salah and Coutinho. Premier League champions Man City to visit Hong Kong in July Kitchee also played Manchester City in an international friendly in the summer of 2019 when the city was hit by anti-from government protests. The visitors easily won 6-1 at Hong Kong Stadium amid protests among the 20,000 crowd. The football chief, meanwhile, said he was still worried about the domestic season and it looks increasingly unlikely to be completed as scheduled in May. All matches have been suspended since January when the government imposed stricter lockdown rules after the Omicron variant fuelled a surge in cases. “We have been talking to various government departments to reopen local competitions as soon as possible but all efforts we made are in vain,” said Pui. “The government is too busy coping with the pandemic and football seems to have a very low priority at the moment.” The HKFA also said six players and officials from the Hong Kong Premier League have been confirmed to have contracted Covid-19 after a test arranged by the body on February 11. They include one from Resource Capital, one from Kitchee and four from BC Rangers. Last week, four Resource Capital players were preliminarily confirmed to be positive while Rangers also reported one case.