The Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) is targeting HK$20 million (US$2.6 million) in sponsorship from “global corporations” as part of its plans to revamp the domestic game by launching a new Premier League competition.
Steven Lo Kit-sing, the HKFA vice-chairman, told the South China Morning Post that discussions are ongoing with more than one firm. “These are not small companies but global corporations that have a strong financial background,” he said. “The new money could be used as prize money for the league and cup competitions, and if everything works out we may also be able to give subsidies to clubs to strengthen their management, sports science support as well as youth and senior squad training. We hope everything will be finalised in May so that the clubs can have ample time to prepare themselves for the new season. If they know both the league and cup competitions will offer lucrative prize money, they will have an incentive to invest more in their own teams.”
The Post reports the current prize for winning the First Division, Hong Kong’s top flight, is just HK$300,000, which compares to the top teams’ budgets of more than HK$10 million a season. The HKFA plans to launch the Premier League in the autumn of 2014, with the country’s top league expanding from 10 to 12 teams.
HKFA chief executive Mark Sutcliffe believes greater sponsorship is vital with most clubs finding it difficult to generate sufficient revenues. “The association is acutely aware of the need to generate more resources for the teams and this will be particularly important in the future as we move towards a new Premier League,” he said. “We are in the process of formulating a proposal to take to potential partners to explain the new league, to show where it could be in five years’ time and to request the amount of money required to establish the league as a viable proposition. This will all be happening imminently.”