It’s quite a while since I blogged and there has been lots happening. To get the ball rolling again I have prepared a presentation for you to download which is an overview of our strategy and funding.
It contains a review of Project Phoenix and our new Strategic Plan, Aiming High – Together. The presentation illustrates how Project Phoenix has been the catalyst for the further development of football in Hong Kong and has led to us being able to secure more funding. In April this year we started a new five-year funding cycle with the Government (HAB) worth HK$25m per annum and in June we commenced a five year programme with the Hong Kong Jockey Club worth HK$120m. The HAB money will be used to fund payroll costs and other overheads of the HKFA as well as contributing to specific activities linked to the delivery of the strategic plan. The HKJC money will be used for football development activities including youth coaching and leagues, girls and women’s football, grass roots programmes, futsal, refereeing, coach education etc. We are delighted to be working with the Jockey Club and grateful that they have seen that our strategic direction and implementation plans are strong enough to command this level of support.
We also receive funding from the LCSD which pays our representative teams training and competition expenses. The level of support we receive has increased since Project Phoenix and again we are grateful for that. It enables our 12 teams (football, futsal, men, boys, women and girls) to be better prepared for international competitions. This again is a key part of our strategic plan because good performances at the elite level encourage participation at all levels.
The HAB, HKJC and LCSD money is therefore to cover what I would call ‘software’. I am particularly excited to confirm that the long-awaited and desperately needed Football Training Centre (hardware) has also moved a step closer with the award of capital funding from the HKJC Charities Board and the release of the land at Tseung Kwan O by the Government. We can now move forward on this project and I hope we can be playing on new pitches some time in 2017. The link between software and hardware is clearly shown within our plan. Everyone knows we need more opportunities to play on good quality facilities. This milestone is a very important one and its potential impact should not be under-estimated.
It’s fair to say that not everyone agrees that Project Phoenix was a success but no-one can deny that it has transformed the HKFA and provided a springboard from which we can make steady progress in our quest to raise the standard of football in Hong Kong. I was astonished to realise that with the original Project Phoenix money together with the additional funding I have mentioned above, the HKFA will be investing an additional HK$500m during the period 2010 to 2020. The majority of this is yet to be spent, over 80% in fact and therefore Project Phoenix was only the early part of the journey. The hard work starts now. We must use this money wisely and really make an impact on local football. All stakeholders must truly Aim High – Together for the benefit of football. I look forward to making the vision reality.
Mark Sutcliffe September 2015