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Hong Kong Premier League club calls for season end and structural change

Zhao Ming of R&F F.C (L) fights for the ball with Marc Martinez of Kwoon Chung Southern (R) during the week three Premier League match (Photo by Power Sport Images/Getty Images)

Hong Kong Premier League football club R&F has called for the current league season to be voided, and for the teams to establish their own company to manage the competition.

R&F, which is based in the Chinese city of Guangzhou but competes in the HKPL, made the calls in a letter sent to the other teams in the league by general manager Tyler Kwok Nengpei. Four of the league’s ten teams – Pegasus, BC Rangers, Yuen Long and Tai Po – have already withdrawn from 2019-20 season due to financial concerns. Tai Po and Yuen Long have told the HKFA they will not play in the 2020-21 HKPL season.

Kwok called for the season, which has been suspended since April due to Covid-19, to be annulled with no champion named, according to news website Sportsroad.

Kwok called on the teams to set up their own company to manage the league in the future, along the lines of the English Premier League, which was set up as a breakaway from the English Football League in 1992. The HKPL was created in 2014 by the Hong Kong Football Association, which has run it ever since. The HKFA always intended that the league would create a body to run itself, as Kwok has suggested, but the plan has never come to fruition.

Kwok proposed that the new company should control the commercial rights of the HKPL, and be responsible for designing youth training programs to improve the standard of local players.

R&F’s appeal follows unhappiness among the clubs over the HKFA’s implementation of a recent Fifa ruling that has resulted in the clubs being unable to sign new players during the current season. The South China Morning Post reported clubs have claimed that Fifa’s rules were mistranslated in Chinese. Kwok has also called for whoever was responsible for this confusion to be held to account.

The 2019-20 HKPL season had already been affected by the anti-government protests before Covid-19 forced games to be played behind closed doors.