Football restart in air amid logistics gloom

Local | Michael Shum 15 Apr 2020

The governing body of local football has suggested resuming the Hong Kong Premier League at the end of September and beginning the next season in November.

The Hong Kong Football Association's resumption plan came after the league was halted halfway through the season in the 10th week of fixtures, with the season to end in early November and the new season to start later that month.

The move would give players a three-week break, with an additional suggestion being that promotions and demotions be canceled for the season.

Biu Chun Rangers director of football Philip Lee Fai-lup said options included allowing teams to play in their present tiers without finishing the current season.

"If the government is willing to sponsor clubs HK$20,000 per match, like the subsidies provided for closed-door matches before the season came to a halt, the Rangers are willing to finish the season," Lee said.

The news of a possible resumption came as multiple clubs competing in the league are experiencing financial difficulties, with Hong Kong Pegasus saying it will not participate in the remaining season. Pegasus defender Chan Wai-ho also announced he had ended his contract with the club.

Meanwhile, defending champion Wofoo Tai Po is understood to be struggling to pay employees and players.

Also struggling is the freight and logistics sector, which is calling for rental relief.

Ten organizations said 95 percent of shipments have been canceled, put on hold or disrupted, leaving them at tremendous default and liquidity risks.

Paul Tsui Hon-yan, vice president of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in Hong Kong, said: "Office and warehouse rents make up around 60 percent so the rent alone can determine whether a company stays afloat or not."

Transport-sector lawmaker Frankie Yick Chi-ming urged landlords to provide a 50 percent rent reduction for six months.

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