On August 23rd the HKFA launched the new 2016/17 BOC Life Hong Kong Premier League season with an official press conference, and already In his opening statement Chief Executive Mark Sutcliffe shared his optimism for the development of local football:
“With the increase in the number of participating teams from 9 to 11, we expect the upcoming season to be better than last season in terms of match quality and competitiveness. We will make the HKPL as accessible as possible to everyone in Hong Kong and continue to promote the league as our flagship ‘product’.”
Sutcliffe mentioned several measurements that were implemented to achieve this goal. Recently, the HKFA invited a FIFA team to give a workshop on fan engagement for all local clubs – it is yet to see if the current shortcomings will become less. Both referees and players have also been briefed on the more than 70 amendments in international football laws. In addition, local referees have been urged to follow the example of the English Premier League and clamp down on poor behaviour on the pitch and in the coaching area, which should reduce foul language, disrespectful altercations and unfair tactics such as delaying the game. The HKFA also vowed to increase their efforts in promoting integrity by expanding their fight against match-fixing and doping. Although, no player has failed the drug test last year.
As part of the event, the HKFA also announced their new season slogan: “Embrace the Moment” will replace last year’s “Let’s Go Crazy” and the previous “Dare to Dream”. 10 of the 11 teams also presented their new kits that afternoon, of which 4 will be supplied by adidas, 3 by Nike, 2 by local brand Xtep, and 1 each by Lotto and Kelme.
Besides, on.cc will continue to be the exclusive online broadcast media partner. That means that supporters can again watch several games each week through the on.cc YouTube channel (which is usually also accessible from overseas). In addition, the HKFA announced a new collaboration with Yahoo Hong Kong. As company director Lorraine Cheung explains:
“We are going to live broadcast 15 major matches of the Hong Kong Premier League. Audience can watch selected league matches live on PC & mobile, and they can enjoy a brand new experience of live chat & cheer functions on the Yahoo news app. We have also rolled out a special HKPL session, which aims at providing latest football information to Hongkongers.”
Eventually, the HKFA also secured a new title sponsor for their youth program: The Club, HK Telecom’s loyalty and rewards program, will in the future present “The Club PL Junior”, providing year-round football and community activities to youngsters aged from 4 to 12.
Photo source: HKFA