Premier League champions to get 50 per cent more prize money as Hong Kong’s clubs mobilise
- Two clubs contribute HK$3 million in seed money as teams form group to attract more sponsors and fans during three-year trial
- ‘It has been under discussion for a long period of time that the Premier League clubs should run their own competition,’ Kwoon Chung Southern chairman says
The clubs in the Hong Kong Premier League are to set up their own committee to boost prize money and manage costs – and they could eventually seek a greater say in running the competition.
A working group has been established to form the “Hong Kong Premier League Committee”, including seven out of the top division’s eight current clubs, with only HK U23 not part of it.
And the clubs announced initial extra funding that will hand next season’s league champions a 50 per cent rise in prize money.
“We have formed a working group and the immediate task is to find ways to lower the clubs’ expenses and, at the same time, increase our income,” said Chan Man-chun, chairman of Kwoon Chung Southern.
“It has been under discussion for a long period of time that the Premier League clubs should run their own competition, and we are happy to have taken the initial step and start a trial for the next three seasons. We’ll see how it works out and decide the next step.”
With the support of HK$3 million in seed money contributed by two clubs, believed to be Kitchee and Lee Man, they plan to increase prize money for the league and the FA Cup.
The total prize money for the Premier League competition will increase from HK$1.2 million to HK$1.8 million, with the champions receiving HK$720,000 – up 50 per cent from the existing HK$480,000.
Prize money for the other teams in the standings will also increase. The total winning purse for the FA Cup will rise to HK$400,000, with half of that sum going to the winners.
Besides separately bearing the costs of hiring referees and ball boys, clubs will have to pay HK$5,000 for each match to cover expenses such as rental costs and other ground charges. This revenue will go into a pool, and if there is any profit at the end of the season, it will be shared by the clubs, except the bottom team.
At the moment, the home team has to bear all of the expenses for each league match, which come to an average of HK$25,000, but they can also take all of the gate receipts.
Chan said there would not be any change to the title of the Premier League.
“BOC Life will remain the title sponsor of the league, and the extra HK$600,000 in prize money will come from the seed money,” he said.
“We will also set up a marketing team for the Premier League and see if we can secure more financial backing from the commercial sector. The FA has its own marketing team, but they serve the FA in general. Our marketing team will be more specific, with the Premier League the only target.”
Chan said the clubs had no plan to break away from the FA, and the Premier League would still be under the body’s supervision, but they wanted to introduce some new elements to attract more sponsors and bring back fans.
“We want to give it a try for the next three seasons, and if there is still no improvement, Hong Kong football may have to consider other ways forward,” he said. “We hope we can work on the right track to prove that Hong Kong football still has a future.”