HKFA CEO: Stadium availability causing delay in league schedule

Upcoming 2023-24 Season Schedule Delayed due to Venue Availability: HKFA CEO

The 2023-24 football season in Hong Kong is set to kick off with Sapling Cup matches on 19 August, followed by league matches starting in September. However, the full schedule is yet to be released, with HKFA CEO Joe Tam attributing the delay to venue availability challenges.

Tam revealed that the Leisure and Cultural Services Department’s limited availability of stadium rental dates has complicated scheduling efforts. Additionally, factors such as repairs closing certain stadiums, two teams participating in the Champions League, and the Hong Kong team preparing for the Asian Cup in the Middle East have further complicated matters.

Notably, the Premier League will feature 11 clubs this season, adding complexity due to the odd number of teams. Furthermore, it is reported that Hong Kong coach Jörn Andersen has requested a pause in December to conduct a training camp in preparation for the Asian Cup.

Tam confirmed the return of the Guangdong-Hong Kong Cup at the end of the year, with Hong Kong sending a B team due to Asian Cup commitments. However, the status of the Lunar New Year Cup remains uncertain, with discussions ongoing but no concrete plans in place.

The HK Premier League Committee, comprised of representatives from 10 Premier League clubs, aims to manage revenue streams, attract commercial partners, promote the league, and distribute profits back to the clubs. Last season, clubs agreed to equally share ticket revenue, resulting in a net profit of $590,000 after expenses, benefiting teams with smaller means.

In terms of revenue sources, sponsorship from the Jockey Club and advertising deals with the Labor Department have significantly contributed to the league’s total prize money. Despite increasing expenses due to more matches and the introduction of VAR, clubs are encouraged to boost attendance and secure sponsorships to prevent financial losses.

Efforts to cut costs include rescheduling dead rubber Sapling Cup matches as double headers and prioritizing appealing fixtures for evening matches with additional lighting fees. Despite these challenges, the Hong Kong football community remains optimistic about the upcoming season, eagerly anticipating the release of the full schedule.

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