Hong Kong Premier League
This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Other club(s) from||China|
|Number of teams||10|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||Hong Kong First Division|
AFC Champions League|
Kitchee (3rd title) |
|Most championships||Kitchee (3 titles)|
|2018–19 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.
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. 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. 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. 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 license requirements and were promoted, making a total of 9 teams for the first season.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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. Hong Kong FC were also relegated after finishing bottom of the division.
The league will revert to its previous system of promoting one club from the First Division and relegating the club at the bottom of the table.
The winners of the league qualify directly into the group stage for the AFC Champions League, while the Hong Kong FA Cup winners also gain a place in the 2nd qualifying rounds of the tournament. 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 rule was abolished after the 2016–17 season.
The structure of the prize money for the inaugural season is as below.
|Final placing||Prize money (HK$)|
|Club||Founded||Home Stadium||Shirt Sponsor||Position|
|Kitchee||1931||Mong Kok Stadium||edps||1st|
|Tai Po||2002||Tai Po Sports Ground||Sun Mobile||2nd|
|Pegasus||2008||Mong Kok Stadium||3rd|
|Eastern||1932||Hong Kong Stadium||Top East||4th|
|Southern||2002||Aberdeen Sports Ground||ISUZU||5th|
|Yuen Long||1958||Yuen Long Stadium||6th|
|R&F||2016||Yanzigang Stadium, Guangzhou||R&F Properties||7th|
|Lee Man||2017||Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground||Lee & Man||8th|
|Dreams||2011||Tsing Yi Sports Ground||SDRE||9th|
|Hoi King||2015||Sham Shui Po Sports Ground||N/A|
- Pink denotes a newly promoted club entering the league this year.
Primary venues used in the Hong Kong Premier League:
|Kitchee & Pegasus||Southern||Yuen Long||Tai Po||Hoi King|
|Mong Kok Stadium||Aberdeen Sports Ground||Yuen Long Stadium||Tai Po Sports Ground||Sham Shui Po Sports Ground|
|Capacity: 6,664||Capacity: 4,000||Capacity: 5,000||Capacity: 3,200||Capacity: 2,194|
|Hong Kong Stadium||Tsing Yi Sports Ground||Yanzigang Stadium||Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground|
|Capacity: 40,000||Capacity: 1,500||Capacity: 1,000||Capacity: 3,500|
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.
Offside.hk is also an excellent source of information on football in Hong Kong for English speakers. The Hong Kong Football Podcast gives detailed and in-depth match reviews and previews on a weekly basis.
- Domestic tournaments
- Hong Kong FA Cup (1975–present)
- Hong Kong Senior Challenge Shield (1896–present)
- Hong Kong Sapling Cup (2015–present)
- Hong Kong League Cup (2000–2016)
- International tournaments
- "Hong Kong soccer body seeks HK$20m in sponsorship for new Premier League". South China Morning Post. 7 February 2013.
- Chan, Kin-Wa. "New Hong Kong Premier League no different to First Division: Peter Leung". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
- Chan, Kin-Wa. "Premier League's viability in doubt as HKFA deadline looms". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
- "Cash-Strapped District Clubs Thrown 'Lifeline' To Take Part In Hong Kong Premier League". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
- "Project Phoenix comes to an end". marksutcliffe.blogspot.com. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
- 改革港足長遠擬增博彩 鳳凰計劃拍板 in Chinese, from Apple Daily
- (in traditional Chinese (HK))"港超聯搵埋贊助玩大佢". Oriental Daily. 22 August 2014.
- "Hong Kong Hong Kong Football Podcast".