‘Hong Kong Stadium will not be a spent force’



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Hong Kong Stadium will be scaled back Image: Populous

Hong Kong Sports Commissioner Yeung Tak Keung has said that the Hong Kong Stadium will still have a role to play even after major events such as the Rugby sevens move to the future Kai Tak Sports Park.

The ‘RTHK’ stated that the Government revealed in a paper to the Wan Chai District Council (Hong Kong) that it would slash the seating capacity of the stadium in Causeway Bay from 40,000 to 9,000, while adding an athletics track around the pitch.

The Hong Kong Stadium is the main sports venue of Hong Kong. Redeveloped from the old Government Stadium, it reopened as Hong Kong Stadium in March 1994. It has a maximum seating capacity of 40,000, including 18,260 at the main level, 3,173 at the executive level, 18,510 upper level seats, and 57 seats for wheelchair users.

The 50,000-capacity Kai Tak Sports Park will occupy 28 hectares of land. It will be the largest piece of sports infrastructure in Hong Kong, providing modern and multipurpose facilities for sports and recreation with a view to enhancing the sports culture in Hong Kong. ‘Pearl of the Orient’ has been adopted for the façade design theme of the sports park’s main stadium. The main stadium’s retractable roof and flexible design will enable organisation of a variety of events of different scales, including international football and rugby matches, concerts and large community events. The Kai Tak Sports Park is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2023.

James Irvine, General Manager (Commercial), Kai Tak Sports Park, Hong Kong, is a Member of Coliseum -Global Sports Venue Alliance.

The ‘RTHK’ quoted Keung as stating on November 9th that the revamped stadium will hold smaller events such as inter-school athletic meets, as well as local and regional football matches.

Major events, such as the Rugby sevens and international football matches, will move to the Kai Tak Sports Park after its completion in 2023, he added.

Rugby sevens is a variant of rugby union in which teams are made up of seven players playing seven-minute halves, instead of the usual 15 players playing 40-minute halves. Rugby sevens is administered by World Rugby, the body responsible for rugby union worldwide.

Added Keung, “We consider that by 2023 or latest by 2024, in Hong Kong we do not need two big stadiums of similar capacity. We can have top-level events at Kai Tak and other tiers of events in the Hong Kong Stadium as well as in the 3,500-capacity Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground at Tseung Kwan O in Hong Kong, and the 6,664-capacity Mong Kok Stadium in Mong Kok, Hong Kong, so there will be a clear division of work among the different facilities.”

Keung said that the Hong Kong Stadium will help local sports development by allowing events of different scales to take place – “For example, at the moment some football clubs or the Football Association want to play some football matches at the Hong Kong Stadium, but they think they may not attract over 10,000 spectators or they feel that the gate receipts may not be able to cover the cost.”

He further informed that the rental cost of the stadium will come down after the revamp.

The Government also suggested adding other facilities at the stadium, including a media room, changing facilities and more parking spaces.

Keung continued, “The current facilities at the Hong Kong Stadium are not up to the current standards for hosting international football matches.”

He said a technical feasibility study on the plan will be conducted in the coming year and the Government hopes to start rebuilding the stadium after the Kai Tak Sports Park is brought on stream.

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