Last night, the main supporter groups of the Hong Kong national team have been informed by the HKFA that there are no tickets left to accommodate their away trip to attend the 2nd leg of the Guangdong-Hong Kong Cup in Guangzhou on January 7th. This comes as a big surprise, as these fan clubs have made ticket arrangements with the FA well in advance.
Meanwhile, there are reports that the allocated away tickets have been given to VIP guests. In addition, 300 tickets have been provided to a patriotic youth group in Hong Kong, packaged as a free whole-day Guangzhou tour for which everyone between the age of 12 and 35 can sign up.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the most dedicated fans in Hong Kong have been slapped in the face: Only few fans were able to secure tickets for the away game in Shenzhen during the World Cup qualifying game in 2015, with most seats being occupied by organized tour groups consisting mainly of retirees. In 2017, Eastern fans were barred from attending the first and historic match of their club in the Asian Champions League against Evergrande in Guangzhou. Instead, the Foshan-based Eastern sponsor arranged employees to sit in the away stand, causing more of an embarrassment than offering real support.
Local fan groups have also experienced strict limitations on attending away games for the R&F matches in Guangzhou as part of the Hong Kong Premier League campaign, being only given a very small ticket contingent.
There is also some irony in there as it is de facto easier for Hong Kong fans to attend the decisive Asian Cup qualifying match against North Korea in Pyongyang (with tour packages offered by several agencies) than attending a game in their motherland.
Any fans who want to attend the 2nd leg of the Guangdong-Hong Kong Cup will now be forced to obtain home tickets and then somehow negotiate their way into the away sector. But there are no guarantees that there won’t be further unexpected hurdles on match day.