The Hong Kong Jockey Club is committed to promoting sports and football development. To provide high-quality football facilities for the community, The Jockey Club HKFA Football Training Centre (the Centre) was constructed with a donation of HK$221 million from The Hong Kong Jockey Club through its Charities Trust. The Centre, operated by the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA), has been the main training base for Hong Kong Representative Teams and a development base for local grassroots programmes, coaches and referees since its opening in 2018. To date, it has welcomed one million visitors, including during the pandemic, with pitch usage of about 20,000 hours.
To celebrate its success, The Jockey Club HKFA Football Training Centre Celebration Ceremony was held on 19 November. Officiating guests included HKSAR Government Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism Kevin Yeung, Club Chief Executive Officer Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, and President of the Hong Kong Football Association Timothy Fok. The President of the Asian Football Confederation Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa delivered a pre-recorded speech during the ceremony. After the ceremony, young football players staged a demonstration match to showcase their skills. In addition, a photo exhibition and video presentation showcased the contribution of the Club and the HKFA to local football development over the years.
Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges 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.
Apart from infrastructure development, the Club has collaborated with various sports organisations to launch football training programmes, empowering people of all ages and abilities to enjoy the pleasures of football. Beneficiaries include primary and secondary school students, young male and female football players, parents, professional coaches and seniors. This year, for example, the Club is celebrating its decade-long partnership with Manchester United which has been promoting youth development through football at elite, school and community levels.
Additionally, to date, the Club has provided over HK$221 million in approved donations to support football-related projects to the HKFA. This included the Jockey Club HKFA Football 5-year Development Programme, launched in 2015, which encompassed a wide range of systematic training opportunities, competitions and tournaments for young people, as well as the development of local coaches and referees. The programme benefited over 100,000 participants. With the encouraging results, a new Jockey Club HKFA Football Development Programme began in 2020, which includes the annual Jockey Club Youth Football Development Programme – Summer Scheme.
To further promote sport, "Spot our Sports!" began at the Centre today for two consecutive days. It is one of many initiatives supported by the Club to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. This two-day event, co-organised by a number of sports associations, introduces baseball, flying disc and lacrosse, as well as new emerging sports. The event features demonstration matches, booths and mini-games for the general public. In addition, around a hundred Drago Cavallo art works from "Drago Cavallo. Flash Mob" supported by the Club and launched by artist Simon Ma are being exhibited to share joy and to bring creativity and positivity to the community.
Over the past 25 years, the Club has progressed with the community. As a world-leader in the sport of horse racing and one of the ten largest charitable donors in the world, the Club has increased its contributions to the community via its integrated business model. The Hong Kong Jockey Club is resolute in pursuing its purpose of acting continuously for the betterment of our society. Then, now, always, we are together with Hong Kong.
For more information about The Jockey Club HKFA Football Training Centre, please see the attached fact sheet.