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LCQ18: Soccer development in Hong Kong

     Following is a question by the Hon Lam Tai-fai and a written reply by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, in the Legislative Council today (March 11):


     Regarding the Secretary for Home Affairs' reply on February 11 this year to my question on soccer development in Hong Kong, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the commencement and expected completion dates of the consultancy study to examine the similarities and differences of soccer development in Hong Kong and in neighbouring regions; whether it will report to this Council the contents and major areas of the study;

(b) whether it has assessed if the situation of the continuous drop of Hong Kong men's football team in the world ranking of the Fˆmdˆmration Internationale de Football Association from being 119th in 2003 to 152nd this year will seriously affect the image of the Hong Kong sports sector; if it will, of the solutions to restore the image of the Hong Kong sports sector; if not, the reasons for that;

(c) whether it knows the total ticket sales of the first division soccer matches (League and Cup) in each of the three seasons between 2005 and 2008;

(d) whether it has assessed how the Mong Kok Stadium, upon completion of the improvement works, can assist in promoting soccer development; whether the Government and the Hong Kong Football Association have any detailed plan in place in this regard; if so, of the contents of the plan; whether it has assessed the attendances per season for the first division soccer matches to be held at the Mong Kok Stadium upon completion of the improvement works; if it has, of the assessment result and the criteria adopted; if not, the reasons for not carrying out such an assessment;

(e) given that the Government said that upon completion of the improvement works, the Mong Kok Stadium would provide a finer sports activity venue for Hong Kong to assist in promoting the development of soccer on the one hand and, on the other hand, to stage more large-scale community activities, of the percentage of these two types of activities to be held at the venue as estimated by the Government, as well as what events of these two types are planned to be held respectively;

(f) whether it knows the number of matches and attendances of the first division soccer matches (League and Cup) held at the Hong Kong Stadium in each of the previous three seasons; and

(g) given that soccer is one of the sports events funded by the Sports Subvention Scheme administered by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, whether the Government had reviewed in the past two years the effectiveness of the scheme in promoting soccer development; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



(a) In respect of the consultancy study, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) conducted a re-tendering on February 26, 2009 with the tender submission deadline set on  March 19, 2009.  If the tendering process goes smoothly, the consultancy report is expected to be completed by early 2010.

     The consultancy study seeks to explore the successful experience of other Asian countries or cities where football has successfully developed and review the current state of local football development, with a view to helping us map out the long-term positioning of local football.  We will brief the Legislative Council upon completion of the consultancy report.

(b) In terms of a particular sport, the world ranking of an athlete or a team is undoubtedly one important indicator of the development of the sport.  However, the ranking of an individual item (such as the Hong Kong Football Team) does not reflect the international image of the Hong Kong sports sector as a whole.  Moreover, we should not equate success in developing this sport in Hong Kong and the efforts made by athletes with the world ranking.

(c) According to information provided by the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA), ticket sales for first division matches (League and Cup) held at the Hong Kong Stadium and the Mong Kok Stadium in the three seasons between 2005 and 2008 were as follows:

Season    Ticket Sales (HK$)      Total Sales(HK$)
          Hong Kong   Mong Kok
          Stadium     Stadium
2005/06   405,760     1,066,300   1,472,060
2006/07   750,920     2,782,300   3,533,220
2007/08   490,940     3,211,700   3,702,640

(d) Upon completion of the improvement works for the Mong Kok Stadium, the levels of service will be enhanced.  The new facilities can be used for staging first division football matches or international football matches.  This will promote public interest and participation in football and meet the training needs of our athletes in a more effective manner.  As for the promotion of football development in Hong Kong, the Government has been giving appropriate support to the HKFA in terms of provision of facilities.

     Regarding the first division football matches, as the number of participating teams and the format of the competition varies from year to year, it is difficult for the Administration to assess the future number of matches and attendance figures at first division matches to be held by the HKFA at the Mong Kok Stadium per season.

     In view of the upward trend in attendance figures for football matches held at the Mong Kok Stadium in the past three seasons, it is expected that the upgrading of the Mong Kok Stadium will contribute further to the promotion of football development.

(e) Given its convenient location, the Mong Kok Stadium has long served as one of the major venues for staging local football matches and large-scale community events such as the annual parades of the Hong Kong Road Safety Association and the Hong Kong Girl Guides Association.  The LCSD will maintain the turf pitch of the Stadium in a good condition for the purposes of holding football matches or conducting training.  At the same time, the LCSD will liaise with national sports associations and other organisations to meet their requirements as far as possible in order to optimise the use of the Mong Kok Stadium.

(f) The attendance data for the first division matches (League and Cup) held at the Hong Kong Stadium in the past three seasons are listed below:

          Number    Total        Average Number
          of        Number of    of Spectators at
          Matches   Spectators   Each Match

2005/06   14        19,587       1,399
2006/07   13        26,707       2,054
2007/08   6         17,930       2,988

(g) In recent years, we have been co-operating with the HKFA in organising football activities under the relevant subvention scheme.  As regards football training, the LCSD works in collaboration with the HKFA annually through the relevant subvention scheme to promote systematic, comprehensive and interlinked youth football programmes such as the School Sports Programme, the Youth Football Scheme, the Primary and Young Athletes Football Training Schemes, the District Youth Football Teams Training Scheme and the Regional Football Squad Training for students and youngsters aged 5 to 19 to enhance local youth football training and provide new recruits for local football.

     To support the promotion and development of football, the LCSD has granted additional funding of over $900,000 to the HKFA since 2007-08.  The number of HKFA subvented programmes was 2,083 in 2008-09, involving over 54,200 participants and a subvention of around $7.31 million.

     To tie in with the work of the HKFA in the promotion and development of football, the LCSD holds annual meetings with the HKFA to review the effectiveness of the subvention schemes.  The LCSD and HKFA also work together to promote the development programmes in order to nurture football development in Hong Kong.

Ends/Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Issued at HKT 16:31


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