8th MARCH 1999




1. Sports facilities in the territory are provided according to the provisions as outlined in Chapter IV of the Planning Standards and Guidelines based on population figures.

2. Building of territory-wide facilities is the responsibility of the central government while management of these facilities is carried out almost exclusively by the Provisional Municipal Councils (PMCs).

3. In the last decade, Hong Kong has shown a remarkable improvement in attaining regional and international sporting achievements. Through the establishment of the Hong Kong Sports Development Board (SDB), in partnership with all the major stake-holders, considerable resources and efforts have been poured into sports development.

4. Yet, the provision of sports facilities for this purpose has not kept pace with the collective investments into sports. This remains the major obstacle in preventing sports to move aggressively forward on a sustainable level of excellence.

5. The SDB manages a solitary sporting facility:

The Sports Institute (SI) in Shatin which is a high performance training centre exclusively for elite athlete vying for medals at the International Championships and Games. Currently, 12 Focus Sports enjoy a high intensity level of specialised training. They are: badminton; fencing; table tennis; squash; windsurfing; rowing; swimming; triathlon; cycling; track and field; gymnastics; wushu.

These 12 Focus Sports are given full support by the SDB in terms of coaching, technical and athletes support, priority use of training facilities etc. at the Sports Institute. Sports from other National Sports Associations (NSAs) can also use the Sports Institute training facilities on a booking basis and at concessionary the venue charges. However, for a short period before major international games such as, Olympic or Asian Games, special arrangement is usually allowed for the national squad of those non-Focus Sports NSAs to use the Sports Institute training facilities and technical support.

Facility Problems

6. The vast majority of sports facilities are managed by the two PMCs which have their own mandate and programmes. Since their target audience is the general public at large, the NSAs which are responsible for running sports development programmes and competitions have to compete for inadequate prime time allocation, as well as having to pay near normal (high) venue charges. A high percentage of the subvention from the SDB has to go towards these venue charges. (In some cases, such as tennis, the charges can be as high as 40%).

7. There is a critical need for more grass pitches in Hong Kong for the development of team sports such as soccer, rugby, cricket and baseball.

8. The Planning Standards do not at present include provisions for water sports such as rowing, yachting, windsurfing, dragon boat, water-skiing and canoe for their regular squad training, club development and international competition.

9. National level competition facilities standards are poor and as a result, the opportunities for Hong Kong to host international sporting events are severely limited. Such events are bound to benefit the host by raising the profile of sports as well as the standards of the locals, over and above real gains in tourism earnings. Unfortunately, Hong Kong's facilities generally fall quite a bit short.

10. To achieve sporting excellence, the SDB cannot work in isolation with only the Sports Institute facilities. It is essential that more regional, dedicated centres can be co-opted to serve as a satellite to the Shatin base.

While the SDB has always tried to maximize the use of the Sports Institute training facilities by the Focus Sports and then other non-Focus Sports, its limited resources in funding and facilities cannot fully meet the requirements of every sports. It will be unrealistic to expect the SDB to be solely responsible for the provision of training facilities to any sports. It is also part of the Government funding policy towards the Sports Institute that SDB has to maximize its commercial revenue from any surplus usage of the training facilities after satisfying the needs of the Focus Sports.


11. No sports development can work without the provision of sports facilities and it is crucial that all the resources can all be pooled together and headed in the same direction from participation to excellence - the sports continuum.

12. Policy guidelines should be written in to allow NSAs to have some priority use of sports facilities managed by the PMCs for developmental and national squad training. This is best done through a consultative process that includes all the major sports stake-holders.

13. Dedicated facilities should be provided to NSAs, similar to the hockey ground at King's Park, the squash centre in Hong Kong Park and the centre for table tennis and squash in Kowloon Tong.

14. Considerations should be made to provide these dedicated facilities on a regional basis, again based on population figures, to provide training opportunities to the up-and-coming young athletes in the districts before they are recruited into the national squad. Sports like badminton, table tennis, tennis, gymnastics (note 1), wushu, fencing and many others will benefit immensely from such provisions. Additionally, they can serve as an important component of an overall "Feeder" system, leading to the identification of top athletes into the Elite.

15. If Hong Kong were to sustain regional and international levels of sporting excellence leading to medals in such competitions as Asian Games and Olympic Games, our athletes must have the necessary access to these facilities provisions.

16. The existing Planning Standards and Guidelines for sports facilities have been in use for many years and are out-dated in terms of serving the changing needs of sports development in Hong Kong. With the re-organisation of the PMCs, the opportunity now exists that the entire matter of facility provision should undergo a massive exercise in re-assessing the needs of all the stake-holders; whether it is the NSAs' need for further dedicated venues; the SDB's need for a satellite training centre or a new multi-purpose stadium for hosting international calibre events.



1. The fundamental, indisputable fact on the business of sports development is that it is an expensive and labour-intensive proposition. It is probably true that sports can never hope to move forward without sufficient government funding and support. In Hong Kong's case, with a relatively low awareness of our sporting culture, and a feeling that sports does not have a high priority, it had been generally felt that the corresponding support from government had been on the low side.

2. In recent years, with a significant upsurge in the interest in sports, the NSAs have been gradually picking up the pace in moving their sports forward. As a result, more activities and programmes are being generated, and hence more fundings are needed. Unfortunately, there is not a corresponding increase in the funding source and we have to make sure that the gap does not widen too far, to the detriment of sports development.

Government Funding to SDB

3. When the SDB came into being in 1990, a sum of HK$46 million was first allocated by the Government. Since that time, the annual adjustments had historically been just short of the cost-of-living level:

YearGovernment SubventionSDB Expenditure
$Million% Increase$ MillionGovernment
Coverage %
1990/9146.0-46.0 100%
1991/9250.08.7%50.9 98.2%
1992/9355.010.0%62.4 88.1%
1993/9460.910.7%73.8 82.5%
1994/9573.320.4%(note 2)85.385.9%
1995/9672.4-1.2%87.6 82.6%
1996/9778.48.3%98.4 79.7%
1997/98105.434.4% (note 3)125.783.8%
1998/99192.882.9% (note 4)276.1*69.8%

* Budget expenditure including Elite Training Programme at the Sports Institute

SDB Grants to NSAs

4. Including in the annual expenditure of the SDB are grants and support allocated directly to the NSAs and ASF&OC which have generally been increasing at a much higher rate than the Government subvention to the SDB.

YearGrants & Support to NSAs Grants to ASF&OC
& Major Games
$ Million
$ Million% Increase

5. There have been claims that the SDB spends too much on its own staff costs. The fact is that the integration of nearly 300 Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI) staff into the SDB staff establishments did escalate the percentage of SDB's total expenditure spent on staff costs. While it is true that the staff costs of the SDB is at 45%, our administrative staff costs is actually at a reasonable 6%. The SDB's expenditure budget for 1998/99 is allocated as follows:

$Million% TotalStaff
Grants &
Operating &
  • Elite training programme
10940%= 25%8%7%
  • Sports development and promotions
11742%= 8%33%1%
  • Commercial activities
3011%= 6%-5%
  • Administration and public relations
207%= 6%-1%
276100% =45%41% 14%

6. We had mentioned that sports development is an expensive activity and it runs in a vicious cycles. The more successful the programmes, the higher the participations; this will require more sports professional to run the programmes; more coaches; more officials and other support personnel. Out of the $117 million budgeted expenditure on sports development, over $77 million (note 5) are actually grant and supports allocated directly to the NSAs and ASF&OC, with nearly 40% of the grants spent on NSA's staff costs. This again shows that both the NSAs and SDB require manpower on sports development.

7. As we move up the ladder to the elite training level, it is an even more labour intensive activity. We will need top high performance coaches, more technical support such as sports physiotherapists, physiologists, biomechanists, biochemists, psychologists, nutritionists, strength & conditioning staff etc; and athletes support staff such as training facilities operating staff, accommodation, catering, education and welfare personnel etc. The staff costs required to run the elite training programme account for 25% of SDB's total expenditure.

8. Success at the international level has a price tag.

By undergoing such dedicated and specialized training over a sustained period, these elite athletes have achieved unprecedented success in terms of securing medal results in the international major competitions, such as the recently concluded Asian Games. They have brought an enormous amount of pride and uplifting feeling to all of Hong Kong, and they serve as excellent role models and ambassadors to our youth, engendering a huge upsurge in our overall sports awareness and sports culture. We should accept that there is a price tag for this kind of success. By the same token, we should acknowledge that our "Focus Sports" concept and implementation are headed in the right direction.

9. Recently, there had been charges that teams sports, such as soccer, are being discriminated against. This is simply not the case because the selection of "Focus Sports" is heavily weighted on performance and results, and ALL sporting categories have been evaluated against a strict and fair set of criteria that had gone through an exhaustive consultation period. Unfortunately, none of the team sports (including hockey, rugby, cricket and others) qualify. However, the SDB fully recognizes and appreciates the value of these team sports through whose popularity brings a high degree of sporting awareness and culture to the masses. The biggest obstacles would be funding (both by SDB and PMCs) and access to facilities (PMCs). It is proposed that when the PMCs are re-organised, that a joint effort should be undertaken to work with these team-sport NSAs an equitable series of programmes to move their sport forward.

Need for additional funding support from the Government

10. One possible avenue to explore must logically be from the tobacco levy that generates billions of dollars annually. An anomaly now exists whereby the Government, in banning tobacco sponsorships of any kind for sporting events, has literally killed off a number of existing high profile major international sporting events such as the Marlboro and Salem Championships (tennis), the Viceroy Cup (soccer), the Kent Championship (beach volleyball) and the Hong Kong Beijing Rally (motor cross). In permitting the continuous sale of a product that has proven to be hazardous to one's health, it should be counteracted by a concerted effort to promote "wellness" and good health which the sporting activities proved.

It would be logical to set up a pool of money so that these marquis sporting events, including other popular events like the Rugby Sevens and the Cricket Sixes, all of which bring high international profile to Hong Kong, along with hundreds and thousands of visitors to stimulate our tourism trade, can continue to survive. The Bureau could oversee how the money is to be distributed while the SDB could do the liaison and coordination work.

11. Another possible source is the setting up of a Government lottery to generate additional revenue. This method is used in many countries for this purpose.


For Immediate Release

25 January 1999

Future use of the Challenge Gymnasium at the Sports Institute

Following the announcement of the 11 new Focus Sports last week, there has been speculation regarding the future use of the Challenge Gymnasium at the Sports Institute as Gymnastics, one of the existing Focus Sports, did not make the category. The Hong Kong Sports Development Board (SDB) would therefore make the following clarifications:

  1. Nothing is confirmed at this stage regarding the future use of the Challenge Gymnasium as whether gymnastics can retain its status under the Elite Training Programme will depend on the result of an appeal, which will not be known until February 5, 1999. Should there be any change in the usage of the gymnastic training facility, it needs to be discussed at relevant committee level before approved by the Board.

    One of the objectives of the SDB, the statutory body responsible for the promotion and development of sports in the territory, is to nurture elite athletes. As resources for Hong Kong sport, in particular elite training, is limited, the SDB has to prioritise its support to individual sport, including facility usage at the Sports Institute, with preference given to the Focus Sports.

  2. Should Gymnastics fail in the appeal, the SDB will review its facility usage policy towards the new Focus Sports. However the Board will definitely work with the Hong Kong Amateur Gymnastics Association to strive for suitable training facilities. Also, support will be given to the Association as well as its individual athletes to help develop the sport in the territory.

  3. In a long run, the Board will lobby the Government for dedicated training centre for each individual sport with the ultimate aim to lift the overall standard and performance of Hong Kong sport.

Issued by the Hong Kong Sports Development Board

For further information, please contact Public Affairs Manager Doris Mao at 2681 6133.

For Immediate Release

4 Feb 1999

Review Results Announced
Track and Field Continues to Receive Elite Support

The Hong Kong Sports Development Board (SDB) announced today (Thursday) that the Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association (HKAAA) will be reinstated its Focus Sport status to qualify for support in the Elite Training programme under the Board from April 1999.

This follows a review of requests from National Sports Associations (NSAs) for Focus Sports status which took place at the Sports House. A final review panel comprising SDB Chairman John Hung, Vice-Chairman Billy Kong, member David Yau and representatives from the Home Affairs Bureau Arthur Ng and Jonathan McKinley heard submissions from the appellants.

Said John Hung, Chairman of the SDB and the panel, "From the early days of the SDB with regard to activities of the HKAAA, the SDB had originally and traditionally adjudged its position confined to 'track and field'. However the review panel listened to the arguments forwarded by the HKAAA that marathon and the one-mile city run should be included in the assessment. The panel felt that this was a compelling argument and decided that from now on HKAAA's performance will be judged as 'athletics' other than just track and field. With the inclusion of these results, the HKAAA has now re-qualified as a Focus Sport and we welcome them back to the fold."

Together with the 11 Focus Sports announced earlier by the Board, there will now be a total of 12 sports to be supported by the Board's Elite Training programme from the beginning of April.

The review panel also heard the submissions of the Hong Kong Tenpin Bowling Congress and the Hong Kong Amateur Gymnastic Association sympathetically. However, the panel has called for additional information regarding these NSAs and will defer their decision until after receipt of such information. A further announcement will be made in this regard in due course.

Regardless whether gymnastics regains their Focus Sport status or otherwise, Hung confirmed that no major structural change will be carried out at the Challenge Gymnasium at the Sports Institute until March 2000 at the earliest in order to cater for the Association's continued elite training programme. "We are always willing to help NSAs and give them special allowance to use the SI facility in line with our policy for all sports," he said.

Diving, synchronised swimming, netball and tennis also requested reviews on their block grant support for the coming fiscal year. Their arguments have been heard and the review board will make detailed reassessment in the light of their arguments in conjunction with the management of the SDB. The results of these reviews will be announced as soon as possible.

The SDB has also agreed to jointly review the level of block grant support for the Amateur Sports Federations and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China. This will take place after the Chinese New Year when both John Hung and Timothy Fok have returned from their respective business trips. This has been agreed by both organisations.

In order to evaluate views and comments on the selection criteria for Focus Sports, Hung disclosed that he will soon form a sub-committee of the Board to look into the focus sports model, including the criteria for judgment, in relation to the overall development of both individual and team sport. This review will be thorough and the new terms of reference will be distributed to all concerned to prepare them for the next round of assessment.

"We always look for room for improvement and streamlining in the system itself in order to move Hong Kong sport forward and we welcome suggestions from all other bodies with vested interest in sport." said Hung.

Hung also rejected misguided comments that the Board had overspent on administration resources. To clarify the issue, Hung said, "For the year 1998/99, the Board budgeted to spend HK$109 million and HK$117 million, or 82 % of its total expenditure, on elite training programme and sports development and promotion respectively, which are the two core functions of the Board. Staff costs attributable to these two core functions, which include specialists such as coaches, sports scientists and medical professionals, athletes and training facilities support staff, sports research, sports development and promotion staff etc., accounted for 32% of the Board's total expenditure. These costs are expenses directly incurred towards actual elite training and sports development purposes in much the same way as subventions allocated to NSAs in furtherance of their sporting objects. It is not appropriate to regard these costs as 'administration'.

"It is indisputable that sport development is a labour intensive function. We need coaches and a large group of professionals who can provide comprehensive technical support to our athletes and sports development. Their contribution and unfailing support can best be reflected through the outstanding achievements made by our athletes at international competitions and the recently concluded Asian Games in which Hong Kong won 5 gold, 6 silver and 6 bronze medals."

"In fact, management, administration and public relations costs were kept at a controlled level of HK20 million or 7% per cent of the total expenditure," added Hung. The remaining HK$30 million, or 11% of the total expenditure, are the costs of the Board's commercial activities which generate nearly $40 million revenue from the Sports Institute and Sports House.

Issued by the Hong Kong Sports Development Board

For further information, please contact Director of Marketing and Communications Group Grace Lee at 29290129.

note 1  In recent weeks, there had been some controversy over gymnastics not making the grade as a "Focus Sport" at the SI, in which case it would have to give up its dedicated training facilities housed within the Sports Institute. The matter is undergoing an Appeal process and the results will be known in a few weeks' time. Regardless of the outcome, SDB Chairman has made it clear that gymnastics will be able to continue using the "Challenge Gymnasium" in the Sports Institute until March, 2000.(see two Press Releases attached as Annex I and II)

note 2  In 1994/95, the annual subvention was supplemented by HK$7.7 million for Hong Kong's participation in the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and FESPIC Games.

note 3  In 1997/98, the annual subvention was topped up by HK$20 million, 97% of which went directly to the Block Grant for the NSAs. The situation further improved when the Government set up a HK$300 million Arts & Sport Development Fund (ASDF), out of which HK$140 million was allocated for applications by the SDB to implement the initiatives as outlined in its 2nd 5-year Strategic Plan.

note 4  In 1998/99, the annual subvention was increased by 82.9% to provide public funding, for the first time, to the SDB's Elite Training Programme at the Sports Institute.

note 5  For the year 1998/99, it would be misleading to compare this $77 million with the Government subvention of $192.8 million which includes a substantial amount for the elite training programme of the Focus Sports at the Sports Institute.