Pleasant surprise: the premier league has secured a one-year contract withthe Life Assurance branch of the Bank of China Group (BOCG Life). Although details have not been disclosed, it seems that the deal boosted the financial capabilities of the new league.
In the first 2014/15 season, the 9 teams will compete for a total of HK$ 1.2 million in prize money (which is four times higher than last year’s cheque, which rewarded Kitchee with HK$ 300,000). In the new format, the prize money will be distributed among all teams (e.g. champion HK$ 400,000 / runners-up HK$ 216,000 / last HK$ 24,000). Although the rise is promising, it is still quite meagre when compared with the annual budget of the league’s top teams.
In addition to the prize money, the HKFA has set up a solidarity fund of HK$ 500,000 for clubs that require financial support.
Learning from last year’s match fixing scandal, the HKFA will also pay special attention to this threat. Better monitoring by an international watchdog as well as a new obligatory ethics code are definitely steps in the right direction.
The new season will be kicked off on 12 Sep 2014 between Kitchee and Tai Po .
Mark Sutcliffe: “The rationale for the new league is to raise the standard of local soccer, to create more excitement and to get more people watching… We are delighted BOCG Life has become our partner in this exciting venture.”