Hong Kong and naturalisation

One of our viewers gave us a lowdown on what is happening in Hong Kong football and the difficulties the country faces in improving the game. Read below then Lester takes on football in the country. 

Hong Kong and nationalisation 

While I'm sure the HKFA would love to naturalise foreigners after five years instead of seven, the problem is that the Hong Kong government doesn't have the power to set its own immigration laws.

If the Chinese government wants to naturalise Elkeson after five years, they can because that is the minimum amount of time that FIFA will accept and more importantly, the Chinese government can make up the rules as they go along.

When the mentioned protests are a topic and if the country will remain Hong Kong It just so happens that some of the protestors fall into the "localist" camp of politics. They're the people who oppose such schemes such as the one-way permit from China which allows up to 150 mainlanders per day to move to the city and the government can do nothing about it.

They're the ones who are concerned about whether this will dilute the local culture, whether the mainlanders will integrate or whether they will simply overwhelm and become the majority in a number of years.

I'm not taking a position here but I simply want to illustrate how the degree to which Hong Kong has control over who can immigrate and who can become a citizen.

Is there enough money? 

The subsidy which is being requested by the HKFA is $25 million HKD which is the same amount that they've received over the previous five-year cycle. They say that that money will be spent on the grassroots but there are clear and obvious questions as to whether that money will be enough to even maintain the status quo, let alone the Asian Cup, let alone the World Cup Qualification.

Last I heard, there are 86 pitches open to the public in the whole of Hong Kong for a population of 7.5 million people and growing. That's roughly one pitch for every 87,209 people. Yes, the land is in short supply, yes, most Asian parents discourage their children from perusing sport as a profession and yes, there is a need to incentive more coaches to get AFC A or Pro licenses. All of that is important but not as important as giving people a place to play and train.

This is a challenge in not just the urbanized areas of Hong Kong but also the outlying islands where you're lucky if there's a futsal/basketball court that you can use. $25 million is not enough to engineer a solution but perhaps double that amount coupled with public sentiment and a government willing to support sports infrastructure will.

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