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Guangzhou R&F field team in HKPL?

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Guangzhou-RF-FC-Logo-EPS-vector-image

According to Hong Kong’s Football Weekly and Oriental Daily, HKFA Chairman Brian Leung confirmed that Chinese Super League side Guangzhou R&F (also known as Guangzhou Fuli) consider sending their reserve squad to Hong Kong next season to join the local Premier League, possibly to complete the sought after 10-team division. However, Guangzhou R&F are still waiting for approval from the CFA, as they would probably also need to fulfill their duty in the Chinese reserve division.

If Guangzhou R&F would join the HKPL, it can be expected that they will not be eligible to participate in any AFC competitions, so even if they would win the league, the AFC Cup / ACL spot would be awarded to the runners-up and/or season play-off winners. Throughout the season the team would probably host their home games across the border in Guangzhou.

If the deal goes trough (and let’s be honest, it’s still a big “IF”), this might pave the way for more reserve teams from the Mainland to participate in a more competitive environment. In fact, some media outlets already start imagining a Guangzhou Evergrande team as a future candidate. If that’s beneficial for local football development is highly questionable though, as examples from other places (e.g. Singapore) have shown.

That said, it’s also not the first time this is happening here in Hong Kong. Between 2005 and 2008 Dongguan Lanwa FC fielded a team in Hong Kong’s 1st Division, and in the 2008/09 season Shenzhen Shangqingyin sent their reserves under the name Xiangxue Eisiti. However, the team only won a single game and was dissolved after just one year.

Nevertheless, the move from Guangzhou R&F comes as a bit of a surprise, as in recent years the HKFA was rather involved in negotiations to get a local team to join the Chinese FA Cup – and in the long-run the Chinese league system, with the lucrative CSL being the ultimate goal.

Offside.hk will keep you updated about any future developments.

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Photo Highlights from Day 3 of the HK Soccer Sevens

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Aston Villa are Cup Winners

In another action packed day which showcased future talent and allowed some vintage stars to display their skills, the HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens did not disappoint with thrills and goals from start to finish. After some high octane games, Aston Villa put the disappointments of the premier league season behind them and looked to the future as their youngsters defeated a spirited West Ham to lift the cup while Leicester City and Stoke won the Shield and Plate respectively.

Photos by Eric Li, Ryan Kam, Stephen Ng, Ken Wu 

Photo inquiries – chris@offside.hk

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English Sides In Clean Sweep at HKFC CITI SOCCER SEVENS

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Aston Villa are the Cup Final Winners of the Main tournament of the Aston Villa are the Cup Final Winners of the Main tournament of the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens on 22 May 2016 in the Hong Kong Footbal Club, Hong Kong, China. Photo by Li Man Yuen / Power Sport Images

Aston Villa lifted the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens Cup for a tournament-leading sixth time as a 2-0 final victory over West Ham United on Sunday completed a 100% record, while English Premier League winners Leicester City and Stoke City also claimed silverware at Hong Kong Football Club.

Goals from the competition’s top scorer Harry McKirdy and striker Rushian Hepburn-Murphy secured Aston Villa their first HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens title since claiming their then record fifth in 2010.

Aston Villa are the Cup Final Winners of the Main tournament of the Aston Villa are the Cup Final Winners of the Main tournament of the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens on 22 May 2016 in the Hong Kong Footbal Club, Hong Kong, China. Photo by Li Man Yuen / Power Sport Images

Aston Villa are the Cup Final Winners of the Main tournament of the Aston Villa are the Cup Final Winners of the Main tournament of the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens on 22 May 2016 in the Hong Kong Footbal Club, Hong Kong, China. Photo by Li Man Yuen / Power Sport Images

Gordon Cowans’ Aston Villa won all three games in the group stage on Saturday before returning in fine form on Sunday to see off Japan’s Kashima Antlers 3-1 in the last eight and defeat New Zealand’s Wellington Phoenix 2-0 in the semi-finals before condemning West Ham to a second successive final defeat.

Leicester suffered a 2-1 defeat to Wellington in the quarter-finals, but went on to claim a penalty shootout victory over Kashima in the semi-finals of the Shield before winning the second-tier competition following a thrilling 3-2 victory over Hong Kong Premier League champions Eastern.

And after being eliminated in the group stage on Saturday, Stoke rebounded on Sunday to claim the Plate. Meanwhile, in the Masters Tournament, Citi All Stars wrapped up their first ever title with a 3-1 victory. Finally, Yau Yee League Masters defeated Kowloon Cricket Club Veterans on penalties after a goalless draw in the final to lift the Masters Plate.

Reference: Lagardere Sports

Photo: Lagardere Sports

Domestic Cups Photos

Photo Highlights from Day 2 of the HK Soccer Sevens

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Chan Yuen Ting of Eastern

Day two of the HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens was action packed with excitement and goals galore with teams from all around the world battling it out in both rain and glorious sunshine.

Aside from professional teams, the competition allows amateur players to take to the field as equals to highlight their skills to a wider audience. One such player is the American Shane Jeffrey who turned out for the Yau Yee Select. He discussed his experience of playing in his first ever Hong Kong Sevens.

This was your first Hong Kong Sevens. How was it for you?

It was great. I had known about it last year but wasn’t aware there was an amateur team from HK in it that I could potentially play for so when I heard more information this year I was excited to give it a try. The trial process was tough but gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of good guys and get to know some of them quite well and we came together as a team nicely making it a fantastic weekend.

Unfortunately some of the results didn’t go our way but as an amateur team playing professionals sometimes you need those bounces and a bit of good luck. We gave it a good run and I was happy to be a part of it. Hopefully I can be a part of it for the next few years.

You scored a winner against Eastern. Can you describe the feeling?

Our squad was quite confident in our ability to compete with all the teams in our group and I think we gave a good account of ourselves. It was an amazing feeling to score in the tournament especially against the Hong Kong Premier League champions. I’m just happy that we were able to come away with at least one result on the weekend and it gave us a good confidence boost going into Sundays quarterfinal against HKFA U-21.

Photos of the day including Eastern, Wellington Phoenix, Kitchee, Newcastle, West Ham, Ajax, Hong Kong and Citi All Stars

Photos by Ryan Kam and Stephen Ng 

Photo inquiries – Email – chris@offside.hk

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