Hong Kong Premier League: Clubs and FA Navigate Path to Success

Championing Changes in Hong Kong Football: Kitchee President Ng Advocates for Professional Game Over Participation Numbers

Yau has urged for a revolution to prioritize the professional game over growing participation numbers in football, while Ng refrained from assessing the FA’s performance, citing its complexity. A proposed league change aims to increase clashes between leading clubs Kitchee and Lee Man, modeled on the J League’s board structure incorporating club owners and various professionals.

Ng opposes the idea of clubs controlling the league and advocates for an independent body overseeing finances, marketing, and competition. The Hong Kong Premier League committee’s recent focus was on a tour of Kai Tak Sports Park, with potential changes to the top division looming, including the withdrawal of HKU23 and Sham Shui Po’s uncertain financial future.

Head coach Jorn Andersen has recommended several changes to enhance the city’s football standard, such as allowing foreign players in match-day squads, mandating a minimum of two local under-22 players in starting lineups, and implementing a midseason split to boost matches between top clubs. Ng stressed the need for FA approval for any alterations, emphasizing ongoing discussions and the need for a consensus.

Despite criticism of the FA’s promotion efforts by club owners, Ng acknowledged positive initiatives while criticizing areas lacking progress. Kitchee’s upcoming Sapling Cup final against BC Rangers highlights the competition’s importance in bridging under-18 and senior football levels, with new FA technical director John Morling prioritizing youth development.

While the Sapling Cup is perceived as the least significant domestic cup, Ng emphasized its value in nurturing young talent for the first team. Discussions on producing more skilled players remain ongoing, with no concrete announcements yet. The quest for young talent’s progression within the football hierarchy underscores the sport’s evolving landscape in Hong Kong.

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