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Friday, Jun 21, 2024

Fok denies quitting as chairman of ice hockey body

Sports sector lawmaker Kenneth Fok Kai-kong has dismissed rumors that he is quitting as honorary chairman of the Hong Kong Ice Hockey Association, as the city's top sports body temporary suspended the association's membership for a month.
Fok yesterday said he supported the decision by the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China to suspend the association's membership, adding that the anthem blunder had exposed issues in the association's corporate management structure.

"The association did not give a full and timely account of the incident or a direct response even after the SF&OC repeatedly contacted association management for a meeting," he said.

Fok also said he will ensure that athletes' competitions and training activities will not be affected and will proceed in an orderly manner, once the association is disavowed.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the SF&OC gave the HKIHA a month to provide a written explanation on its handling of the national anthem at the Ice Hockey World Championship in February, together with a plan to improve corporate governance.

"The Executive Committee of the HKIHA obviously lacks internal communication and a clear division of roles and responsibilities among committee members," the statement said.

Pui Kwan-kay, honorary vice-president of the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, blamed the HKIHA for its "lack of alertness." He also said suspending the association's official status and imposing funding cuts would not affect its eligibility in international competitions, adding that it would be reinstated if improvements are made.

In response, the HKIHA issued a statement signed by team manager Kan Yeung-kit claiming that the SF&OC "lit the first fuse" for the anthem blunder when it sent an e-mail on December 7 ordering the city's sports associations to send tournament organizers a download link to the anthem.

Last month, the HKIHA said the organizers were "unable to download the correct anthem" as the link provided by the SF&OC directs users to the official website of the Chinese central government, which is in simplified Chinese.

Vice-captain of the Hong Kong ice hockey team Alvin Sham Cheuk-him said that the team would have fewer opportunities to compete and that children would not be able to play if the government cuts funding to the association.

"Winning bronze in the Ice Hockey World Championship was a great start for us and if kids start training hard, they might be able to do even better," Sham said, requesting alternative punishments that would not jeopardize the team's development.

Separately, the local football association announced the new logos for itself and the Hong Kong team on Tuesday, after the SF&OC told local associations that they risk having funding pulled if they "China" is not included in their official names.

The new logos now read "The Football Association of Hong Kong, China" with the Chinese characters for "Hong Kong" on the left and "China" on the right.
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