Friday, 18 September 2015

HKFA Progress Report: Strategy and Finance

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     

18 comments:

  1. Dear Mark,
    Thank you for the presentation and your leadership. The FA has indeed come a long way. One aspect that wasn't mentioned was that increased transparency and encouraging community feedback has also helped to foster a productive environment and a positive way forward.

    Regarding "Rec 25 - Eligibility for National Teams" Could you explain more about NSA and other efforts to increase eligibility for Hong Kongers?

    Best Regards,
    -David

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  2. Dear David,
    Thanks for your comments and support.
    The issue of eligibility is a complicated and difficult matter. Under the FIFA regulations (and followed by AFC, EAFF etc) only a passport is recognised as proof of nationality. Therefore eligibility to represent Hong Kong is dependent on an individual having an SAR passport. In order to get an SAR passport a person must be a permanent resident of Hong Kong (i.e. been here for 7 years+) and apply to and be approved by the Hong Kong Immigration Department. In doing so a person is required to rescind their original nationality (e.g. British, French, Nigerian etc) because the concept of 'dual-nationality' doesn't exist in China/Hong Kong. This is not the case in other countries where dual nationality exists and passports are handed out say after three years' residency and where the original passport can be retained as a valid document. Therefore Hong Kong is disadvantaged in terms of international competition when compared to other countries. It is a matter of personal choice as to whether a person would like to give up their original nationality and different countries have a different approach to giving back nationality if someone changes their mind at a later date or moves back to their other country. As a result of this we have people who were born in Hong Kong (and their parents were too), who have lived in Hong Kong all their lives but who remain ineligible to represent Hong Kong. This doesn't seem fair but I hear people say that they should be prepared to give up their original nationality if they want to represent Hong Kong. That is a fair point but there are still different timescales at play because it takes 7 years to even begin applying in Hong Kong, whereas in other countries the period is significantly less.
    To complicate matters further, not all sports are affected in the same way. So for example World Rugby will accept other forms of identification as proof of nationality e.g. PR. However the International Olympic Committee also requires a passport. So if a rugby player is representing Hong Kong in a 15 a side competition under the auspices of World Rugby, they don't need an SAR passport but if they want to play in the Olympics in 7s, then they do.
    A number of the NSAs in Hong Kong representing different sports have met to discuss this issue and how it impacts on the different sports. The view is that it is better to adopt a collective approach if we are to lobby either the international sports authorities e.g. FIFA, IOC etc) and/or the HK Immigration Department (to at least ensure that applications are treated in the same way). We have agreed an action plan and over the next few months we will be engaged in trying to resolve this anomaly so that Hong Kong can compete on a level playing field with other countries and individual sportsmen and women are not discriminated against.
    I will update this blog as and when with updates of progress.
    Regards,
    Mark

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  3. I think in Youth football criteria, 1. HKFA Youth League 1.1. U17, U18 FA Cup should include 30 minutes extra time, meet the professional stage 2. Inter-school Football Competition 2.1. A-grade(U17-U18) should extend the game time to 90 minutes, also include the 30 minutes extra time in the knockout stage, meet the professional stage 2.2.1. Inter-school Football Competition should be divided into 18 districts, increase the cohesion of the districts they belong 2.2.2. Champion and First runner-up of 18 districts can join the Jing Ying Football Competition(home-away) 3. It will be better if Inter-school Football Competition and Jing Ying Football Competition held on every Tuesday and Wednesday while HKFA Youth League and Youth FA Cup held on every Saturday. I also get lots of idea of the HK football development(youth) in my head, it will nice if I get a chance to chat with you.

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  5. Dear Alex,
    Thanks for your thoughts. I am always happy to discuss things with football enthusiasts and especially those operating at 'the coal face'. Send your contact details to my email mark.sutcliffe@hkfa.com.
    Regards
    Mark

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    Replies
    1. Dear Mark,
      Glad that receiving your reply, I sent a email to you, my e-mail address is alexkwanyh@yahoo.com.hk
      Regards,
      Alex

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  6. Dear Mark,

    I came across this article on the importance of quality coaching. http://whitehouseaddress.blogspot.hk/2012/02/importance-of-youth-development-why.html

    Now that we may have the new Football Training Centre ready by 2017, I think now comes the time we should do our utmost to raise HK coaching standard across the board as much as possible.

    I wonder if there is any detailed plan in place to improve the coaching standard in Hong Kong? Thanks!

    Regards,
    Bob

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  7. Dear Bob,
    Thanks for sending me the link - very interesting and accurate article. Within the new strategic plan, coaching and coach education is described as the 'bedrock'. As the article implies, developing technically good footballers is not rocket science. It is about creating a culture where teaching and coaching is done in a systematic and progressive way.
    We are doing a number of things to help to improve football coaching in Hong Kong. Firstly from a strategic perspective the plan includes a structured football development continuum with clearly identified pathways for talented players. This starts at the grassroots and we are introducing a number of initiatives designed to implement the 'development 'pyramid' including; extending the partnership with schools to put qualified coaches into schools to teach children, introducing an accreditation scheme for commercial soccer schools to ensure properly qualified coaches are employed, extending the HKFA grass roots and youth development programmes, restructuring the leagues to ensure the 'best play with the best' etc.
    We are also increasing the number of coach education courses, particularly at the youth leader level.
    Two more important initiatives spring to mind, the first of which is really fundamental. We have just completed the first ever Hong Kong Football Curriculum. This is the 'bible' of how to teach football starting with small-sided games for 4 year olds. It explains what to teach, how to teach and includes progressions from the 'discovery' phase all the way through to elite player development. The curriculum includes model coaching sessions etc. We have already presented the curriculum to may of the coaches in Hong Kong and it will be formally launched soon. Once this is done, it will be put on our website for all coaches to download and use.
    The second initiative involves the appointment of an 'elite development coach' whose job it will be to continue to develop the curriculum, set coaching standards across Hong Kong and work with coaches at all levels.
    We have also increased the level of supervision of our coaches operating in the District programme to ensure they are running educational, safe and enjoyable session.
    We understand the value of coaching and are working hard to ensure effective football teaching is embedded in all of our work.
    Regards
    Mark

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  8. Is it possible for HKFA to check on the grass condition after the Olympics Rugby tournament, then if it is suitable, move the HK vs China game to HK Stadium?

    Tickets sold for Mongkok Stadium will still be honoured as HKFA will only sell the newly available 26,000 tickets? (As you said before only 30,000 tickets will be on sale. So 30,000 minus the 4,000 sold for Mongkok is 26,000.)

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  9. Dear Allan,
    I have given this suggestion serious consideration and have discussed it with quite a few people internally and externally. In principle, it's not a bad idea and if there had been a little more time between the rugby and the football it might have worked.
    Unfortunately inn reality we wouldn't have been able to make a final decision until Monday 9th and the match is scheduled for the 17th i.e. 8 days later. This just isn't enough time to change all of the logistics including printing and selling tickets, security arrangements etc. Also we need to confirm the arrangements with FIFA and the AFC.
    As frustrating as it is, I don't think there is any choice but to play the match at Mong Kok. This will always be one of the most annoying things that have happened during my time in Hong Kong.
    Regards,
    Mark

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  10. Do you think CFA would agree to postponing the Hong Kong vs China match to December, now that Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao is in the ACL final? Many of their players will have to play on 7 and 21 Nov and the Hong Kong match on 17 Nov may affect their performances.

    Maldives moved their home match to China and FIFA/AFC did not make much noise, so I think moving the match to Dec may not be a big issue with them, provided both HKFA and CFA agree. Even if it costs HKFA a small fine, the extra income is more than worth it.

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    1. Dear Allan,
      I don't think the match against China can be moved to December. World Cup matches need to be played during a FIFA international match day and there aren't any of these in December. The Maldives, v China match involved a change of venue but was still played on the original date as set out in the draw.
      Regards,
      Mark

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  11. Two more questions:

    1. The match against Myanmar on 7 Nov is not an official class A international, so why not ask coach Kim to include those newly naturalized players such as Sandro, Alex Akande, Paulinho... etc to join the squad and even play? It won't matter if their passports have not come through yet. But if they play well and their passports come through in time, then they can play against Maldives and China.

    2. Would you consider inviting a Macanese or Singaporean or Taiwanese club to join our FA Cup? We only have 9 teams now and if HKFA can invite another club to join then it would be better. HKFA could even invite all three and make a 12 clubs tournament.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Allan,
      1. Although the match against Myanmar is only a friendly, it is still designated as an A class international so FIFA would still insist on a passport as proof of nationality. We are monitoring the progress of the naturalization closely. Coach KIM will choose the players that he wants. I have always made it clear that team selection is not something I'm going to interfere in.
      2. We would consider this but at the moment we don't have a sponsor for the FA Cup so any team from outside Hong Kong would have to pay their own expenses and play in a competition where the prize money is minimal. In an attempt to make the competition more interesting and inclusive we are including 4 teams from the 1st Division into the main draw of the FA Cup. Hopefully this will encourage the more junior teams and perhaps lead to some 'giant killing' stories.
      Regards,
      Mark

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  13. Dear Mark,

    Follow up on Rec25 eligibility of players.

    You replied here in 2015 and the PPT it's written it would be discussed in the coming months. Still this issue is no further advanced.

    Reviewing the FIFA documents on eligibility it based on right of abode ( no mention of passport). Though I understand the HKFA have set stricter requirements - basing their eligibility strictly on their Imigrations Dept. definition of 'ROA" rather than perm residency. Though the HKFA does register players - with a first criteria of being born in the country or teratory ( which many young potential players are). Appreciate Asian games etc may have different requirements.
    Surely the goal is to get the best young boys and girls playing and not just those that have an sar passport.

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  14. Hi Mark

    Apologies for the intrusion.

    Just wondered is you could give me a bit of advice

    I would like to enquire about the possibility of my son representing Hong Kong football.

    He is currently 17 years old and was born in the United Kingdom and holds a UK passport.

    I was born in Hong Kong and my father was born in China. We both have HK ID cards with right of abode.

    Would these be sufficient to make my son eligible to represent Hong Kong football? Would he be able to attain a HK ID card and HKSAR passport with right of abode also?

    We have been told that he has to reside in HK for 7 years to obtain a HK ID card? This would be difficult as he is currently living in the U.K.

    I asked these because I can see under HK immigration rules, he can apply due to myself having a HK ID card with right of abode and that I was born in HK.
    What is the HKFA's understanding of this situation please?

    I am keen to found out as he has a chance to maybe participate in the U19 AFC tournament next year if a solution can be found.

    Many thanks
    Chris

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  15. Hi Doug R

    Can I ask where you read the FIFA bases its eligibility on ROA rather than passport?

    Mark, are you aware of this rule?

    Regards
    Chris

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