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Hong Kong keen on Track Cycling World Cup, but faces financial barriers

The Hong Kong Cycling Association (HKCA) has called for commercial support in its efforts to land a round of the Track Cycling World Cup, adding that it is the only city to have so far expressed an interest in the 2015-16 series.

The HKCA and the International Cycling Union (UCI) have been in talks since last month when the association disclosed its interest in playing host. However, HKCA chairman Leung Hung-tak said stringent commercial sponsorship requirements, as well as a price tag of HK$10m (€1.03m/$1.29m), are proving significant stumbling blocks at present.

“We need to secure all the financial backing beforehand as we don't want to see the event become a burden on the association,” Leung told the South China Morning Post newspaper. “This is not easy as we are talking about a very big amount of money, especially since the UCI has told us the series does not allow for a title sponsor.

“Also, we cannot engage commercial sponsors who have potential clashes with UCI sponsors in areas such as photographic equipment or timing. Sponsorship money forms the major source of income for hosting an international event and we also need it to secure government's matching funds on a dollar-for-dollar basis. These limitations will definitely give us more difficulties.”

The government and the Jockey Club have said they would support the HKCA in bringing the World Cup to Hong Kong. Leung said the HKCA is preparing a detailed plan before formally approaching the two entities. “We know they are both willing to provide support, but we also need to convince them it is worthwhile staging the event, not just for a small group of elite athletes, but the entire sports sector and the community as a whole,” Leung said.

However, Leung said he remains optimistic because Hong Kong is the only city that has indicated its interest in the 2015-16 series. “Hong Kong is always welcomed by the international community for hosting major sporting events and the UCI also wants us to help promote track cycling in Asia,” he added. “We have a top-class facility in Tseung Kwan O and other support services. We only need to solve the financial problems.”

The UCI’s 2014-15 Track World Cup comprises three rounds. Guadalajara, Mexico hosted a round from November 8-9, with London staging an event from December 5-7. Moving in to next year, Cali will host the final World Cup round from January 18-19. The Colombian city staged this year’s edition of the Track World Championships.