Hong Kong Premier League

Hong Kong Premier League (Chinese: 香港超級聯賽) is a Hong Kong professional football league organised by Hong Kong Football Association. It is currently sponsored by BOC Life and officially known as BOC Life Hong Kong Premier League (Chinese: 中銀集團人壽香港超級聯賽). The inaugural season began in September 2014. It is the top-division football league in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Premier League
Hong Kong Premier League Official Logo.png
Founded2014; 7 years ago (2014)
CountryHong Kong
ConfederationAFC
Number of teams10
Level on pyramid1
Relegation toHong Kong First Division
Domestic cup(s)Senior Shield
FA Cup
Sapling Cup
Community Cup
International cup(s)AFC Champions League
AFC Cup
Current championsKitchee (5th title)
(2020–21)
Most championshipsKitchee (5 titles)
TV partnerson.cc
Websitehttp://www.hkfa.com/
Current: 2020–21 Hong Kong Premier League

HistoryEdit

On 7 February 2013, the Hong Kong Football Association stated that the new Premier League would get under way in Autumn 2014, where it was suggested that the 2013–14 season would be a transition year.[1] As a result, the 2013–14 Hong Kong First Division League was the last season of the First Division to be the top tier of football in the Hong Kong league system.

The clubs already in the top division initially reacted negatively to the perceived increased running costs of competing in a professional league, particularly one where some felt that there was little difference to the old First Division.[2] Five clubs – Citizen, Southern, Sun Hei, Happy Valley and Tuen Mun all eventually decided against joining the new league, which led to fears that the HKFA's plan to start the league with a minimum of 8 teams would not be possible.[3] In the end, however, through public funding and government support, two teams from the Hong Kong Second Division were able to meet the new league licence requirements and were promoted, making a total of 9 teams for the first season.[4]

With the recent completion of 'Project Phoenix' which started in 2011, the league has seen some improvements with further amendments planned for the future. This includes a new five-year funding agreement, a new licensing scheme for league member clubs, prize money for all participating teams and new measures put in place against corruption and match-fixing.[5]

Kitchee were crowned as champions of the inaugural season, after amassing a total of 36 points in the league with only 2 losses. Tai Po finished bottom of the league with only 7 points.

The following season, Eastern won the league with a game to spare, winning their first top flight championship in 20 years. They also created history, as they were the first team in the world to win a top flight men's title whilst being managed by a female coach. Wong Tai Sin were relegated after finishing last in the league.

In the 2016–17 season, Kitchee reclaimed the title on the final day of the season in a showdown with rivals Eastern, a game which they won 4–1. Eastern later won the End-of-Season playoffs and will therefore also compete along with Kitchee in the 2018 AFC Champions League. HKFC finished bottom of the table, and were thus automatically relegated to the First Division.

Kitchee successfully defended their title in 2017–18, becoming the first club to repeat as champions the following year.

In 2018–19, Tai Po won the league, becoming the first district team to win a top flight title since Yuen Long in 1962–63.

FormatEdit

The first season kicked off in September 2014, with 9 teams competing for the championship. It was initially suggested that a relegation system would not apply for the first few seasons, and that teams would continue to be promoted to the top-tier league until there were 12 member clubs.[6] In the end, however, the HKFA decided that one club would be relegated and one club would be promoted from the 2014-15 Hong Kong First Division League.[7]

By 2016–17, the league had expanded to 11 teams. The HKFA promoted Tai Po and HKFC who had finished at the top of the 2015–16 Hong Kong First Division into the league while adding expansion teams Hong Kong Sapling and R&F. Wong Tai Sin were relegated from the previous season and Metro Gallery chose to self relegate due to financial difficulties.

For the 2017–18 season, the league moved down to ten teams after Hong Kong's most successful and longest running top flight club South China chose to relegate themselves to the First Division in a shock move after the departure of their chairman, and them failing to find suitable financial means to keep the club in the Premier League. HKFC were also relegated after finishing bottom of the table.

The champions of the league qualify for the 2nd qualifying round of the AFC Champions League, while the champions of the Hong Kong FA Cup qualify for the playoff round of the AFC Cup. Should the league champions fail to qualify for the Champions League, they will instead receive Hong Kong's East Asia Zone group stage slot in the AFC Cup. Previously the FA Cup winners and the teams finishing in 2nd, 3rd and 4th competed in an end of season playoff for the final spot in the AFC Champions League, but this format was abolished after the 2016–17 season.

Reserve LeagueEdit

Each Hong Kong Premier League team form their own reserve team which competes in the Hong Kong Reserve Division League (Chinese: ).

Prize moneyEdit

 
The Hong Kong Premier League trophy.

The structure of the prize money for the inaugural season is as below.[7]

Final placing Prize money (HK$)
Champion 480,000
Second 216,000
Third 144,000
Fourth 108,000
Fifth 84,000
Sixth 60,000
Seventh 48,000
Eighth 36,000
Ninth 24,000

ClubsEdit

As of October 2020, A total of 8 teams currently participate in the Hong Kong Premier League.

Locations of the Hong Kong based teams.


Club Founded Home Stadium Shirt Sponsor Position
Last Season
Kitchee 1931 Mong Kok Stadium edps 1st
Eastern 1932 Mong Kok Stadium Topeast 2nd
Lee Man 2017 Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground Lee & Man 4th
Southern 2002 Aberdeen Sports Ground ISUZU 5th
Happy Valley 1950 Sham Shui Po Sports Ground World Electronic Sports Games 6th
Pegasus 2008 Yuen Long Stadium RedMR Cosmos Withdrew
Rangers 1958 Hammer Hill Road Sports Ground Bjorn Hendal Sweden Withdrew
Resources Capital 1982 Tsing Yi Sports Ground 1st in First Division
(before cancellation)
  • Pink denotes a newly promoted club entering the league this year.
Defunct/Relegated teams
Team City Stadium Capacity Founded Joined Last Participated
South China Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island Hong Kong Stadium 40,000 1910 2014–15 2016–17
Tai Po Tai Po, New Territories East Tai Po Sports Ground 3,200 2002 2014–15 2019–20
HKFC Happy Valley, Hong Kong Island Hong Kong Football Club Stadium 2,750 1886 2016–17 2016–17
Yuen Long Yuen Long, New Territories West Yuen Long Stadium 4,932 1958 2014–15 2019–20
R&F Guangzhou, China Yanzigang Stadium 2,000 2016 2016–17 2019–20

TimelineEdit

League members Former members Future members

StadiumsEdit

Primary venues used in the Hong Kong Premier League:

Kitchee
Eastern
Happy Valley Lee Man Resources Capital
Mong Kok Stadium Sham Shui Po Sports Ground Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground Tsing Yi Sports Ground
Capacity: 6,769 Capacity: 3,200 Capacity: 3,500 Capacity: 1,500
       
Rangers Pegasus Southern
Hammer Hill Road Sports Ground Yuen Long Stadium Aberdeen Sports Ground
Capacity: 2,200 Capacity: 5,000 Capacity: 4,000
     

ChampionsEdit

No. Season Champion
1 2014–15 Kitchee
2 2015–16 Eastern
3 2016–17 Kitchee
4 2017–18 Kitchee
5 2018–19 Tai Po
6 2019–20 Kitchee
7 2020–21 Kitchee

Wins by clubEdit

Club Wins Years
Kitchee 5 2014–15, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2019–20, 2020–21
Eastern 1 2015–16
Tai Po 1 2018–19

Media coverageEdit

Live matches and highlights shows are provided free of charge through online website Facebook in Cantonese.

With regards to English coverage, the official Hong Kong Football Association website, and to a lesser extent the South China Morning Post, provide match reports, player interviews, club information and league data. The Hong Kong Football Podcast also covers the HKPL on a fortnightly basis.[8]

Other tournamentsEdit

Domestic tournaments
Continental tournaments

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Hong Kong soccer body seeks HK$20m in sponsorship for new Premier League". South China Morning Post. 7 February 2013.
  2. ^ Chan, Kin-Wa. "New Hong Kong Premier League no different to First Division: Peter Leung". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  3. ^ Chan, Kin-Wa. "Premier League's viability in doubt as HKFA deadline looms". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  4. ^ "Cash-Strapped District Clubs Thrown 'Lifeline' To Take Part In Hong Kong Premier League". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Project Phoenix comes to an end". marksutcliffe.blogspot.com. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  6. ^ 改革港足長遠擬增博彩 鳳凰計劃拍板 in Chinese, from Apple Daily
  7. ^ a b (in Chinese)"港超聯搵埋贊助玩大佢". Oriental Daily. 22 August 2014.
  8. ^ "The Hong Kong Football Podcast". Soundcloud.

External linksEdit