The Jockey Club HKFA Football Training Centre Celebration Ceremony
The Jockey Club HKFA Football Training Centre (FTC), since coming into operation in August 2018, has been the main training base for Hong Kong Representative Teams and a development base for local grassroots programmes, coaches and referees. The facility, which was constructed with a donation of HK$221 million from The Hong Kong Jockey Club through its Charities Trust towards the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA), is widely popular among the community. Despite the COVID-19 epidemic, total pitch usage has reached 20,000 hours and more than 1 million visitors have been received up till now.
HKFA held "The Jockey Club HKFA Football Training Centre Celebration Ceremony" today to commemorate its success. Officiating guests included Mr. Kevin YEUNG, Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mr. Winfried ENGELBRECHT-BRESGES, Chief Executive Officer of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, and Mr. Timothy FOK, President of HKFA.
Facilities at FTC include three full-size natural grass football pitches which meet FIFA's standard for 11-player football matches. These pitches provide an excellent venue for Hong Kong men's and women's senior and youth representative teams to undergo training and prepare for international matches. In addition, natural grass football pitches are available for Hong Kong Premier League clubs to use. Together with a series of supporting facilities, including a gym room, multi-function classroom and physiotherapy room etc., these all help to enhance the competitiveness of local football.
Various football training programmes supported by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, including the Jockey Club HKFA Football Development Programme, are also held at the three artificial turf football pitches of FTC. The programmes cover youth development, women's football, as well as referee and coach development etc. With the strong support of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, the HKFA is committed to encouraging mass participation in football and uses the facilities in FTC to groom talented players.
At the Celebration Ceremony, Mr. Kevin YEUNG, Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, said "Firstly, I would like to thank The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust's donation for constructing the Jockey Club HKFA Football Training Centre. The Hong Kong Jockey Club is proactive in promoting local football development and has provided hundreds of million dollars in funding for football related projects to strengthen community bonding. I am also thankful towards HKFA for its dedication in promoting local football development, bringing positivity and unity to society."
Mr Winfried ENGELBRECHT-BRESGES, Chief Executive Officer of The Hong Kong Jockey Club said at the ceremony that, "The Hong Kong Jockey Club believes strongly in the benefits of sport for physical and mental well-being. In particular, team sports like football can help build leadership and team skills and bring communities together. This is why sport is one of the focus areas of the Club’s charity strategy. In the past ten years alone, the Club has donated more than HK$$3.5 billion to encourage people of all ages and abilities to participate in and enjoy sport. Cumulatively, this has benefited over 2.5 million people."
Mr. Timothy FOK, President of HKFA, thanked the continuous support of the HKSAR Government and The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust towards local football development. "The Jockey Club HKFA Football Training Centre will reach its fifth year of operation soon and this year is also an important milestone of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR. Since winning a gold medal in the football competition of the East Asian Games in 2009, we have witnessed the development progress of Hong Kong football over the years. This year, the Hong Kong Representative Team has qualified for the Asian Cup Finals once again, after an absence of half a century, which is very encouraging and exciting. I believe that every team member remembers their sweat and tears at the FTC as they savour the success. I wish that the pitches here would continue to create more possibilities and nurture more talented football stars."
Furthermore, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, President of the Asian Football Confederation, conveyed his congratulations through a video recording. He said "The AFC has always stressed the importance of grassroots football in developing talents, promoting diversity and mass participation. The HKFA has constantly shown strong support for the AFC's mission of promoting grassroots football. In this regard, I would like to specially commend the success of the Jockey Club HKFA Football Training Centre."
Afterwards, officiating guests pressed whistles on the stage, signifying that the development of FTC would continue to prosper. Then, they watched two young players from the Jockey Club Primary Athletes Football Training Programme showcase what they have learnt by working together to score a goal. Guests also conveyed wishes for FTC to groom more local football talent.
After the Celebration Ceremony, two mixed-gender teams were formed by young players to put on an exciting demonstration match for guests and the audience. All young players agreed that apart from learning all types of football skills, the Training Programme allowed them to build a sense of team spirit.