The end of the 2017/18 season is approaching and there are a lot of speculations on which team will still be participating in the Premier League next season. Rangers are currently at the bottom of the table, but Yuen Long are reportedly having difficulties to find a sponsor to stay in the professional top flight. So which teams can we expect to see next year? Zinc Yeung takes a closer look.
According to sportsroad.hk, when asked about whether Yuen Long will remain in the Premier League next season, President Kwok Tsz-hing said they have delayed their application to the HKFA as they still have not found a new sponsor. It is believed that Sun Bus, a subsidiary Sun Hung Kai properties, have ended their partnership. She also admitted that under current circumstances, it is difficult to prevent their players from joining other clubs. In fact, Yuen Long’s attacking duo Everton Carmago and Walters Soares Jr. are both rumored to have signed for Eastern already.
Meanwhile in Hong Kong’s First Division, mid-table club Hoi King have allegedly submitted a request to the HKFA for promotion to the Premier League next season. Hoi King was formed in 2015 and currently coached by former Yuen Long head coach Fung Hoi-man. Although they are only eighth in the First Division at the moment, they could still be eligible to get promoted. Previously, only the top four clubs would have been considered for promotion to the Premier League (in case the top club would refuse promotion), but a change of rules this season might allow any team in the First Division to be promoted as long as they fulfill the licensing arrangements. And of course there is always the possibility to join via an entrance fee, as Lee Man and R&F have done in recent years. Hoi King already made some headlines last December, when they announced a minor sponsorship deal with Red Bull, inspiring the imagination of some local football fans if Red Bull might want to establish their first Asian football club.
First Division leaders HKFC are also reportedly interested in participating in the Premier League next season, but it will once again depend on whether they can find another agreement with the HKFA about their amateur status. The Board of Directors of the HKFA have a scheduled meeting on Monday and the question on which teams will be participating in the Premier League will surely be on the agenda.