27 October 2016
Timothy Fok (3rd from right, in front) has stacked Hong Kong's Olympic Committee with his cronies and supporters, critics say. Photo: Xinhua
Timothy Fok (3rd from right, in front) has stacked Hong Kong's Olympic Committee with his cronies and supporters, critics say. Photo: Xinhua

How a cabal controls Hong Kong’s Olympic sports

The cabal that controls Hong Kong’s Olympic Committee has just dispatched the SAR’s team to Brazil and, as ever, has retained its stranglehold over local participation in the games and all other aspects of international sporting association.

At the heart of the cabal is Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, who has chaired the body since 1998 and ensured that the committee is stacked with his cronies and supporters.

The activities of the local Olympic committee are far from transparent. However, it is believed that there is never opposition to anything that Fok proposes. This includes the recent appointment of his son Kenneth as a vice-president.

Fok Senior maintains a stranglehold on all the important panels within the committee by chairing the following: the Olympic Games Panel and Selection Committee, the Asian Games Appeal Panel and Selection Committee, the Membership Eligibility Vetting Committee, the Investment Committee, the Board of Directors and Management Committee of the Management Company of Olympic House Limited and the Constitution Review Committee.

In other words Fok oversees who can participate in international sport, all matters relating to selection, appointment and appeals, alongside controlling amendments to the constitution and the finances of this body.

Fok’s main henchman in this organization is Ronnie Wong who serves as the Olympic Committee’s Secretary General and shadows Fok on the major committees.

Like Fok, a CCPCC member and eldest son of the late Henry Fok, who for many years was Beijing’s number one business ally in Hong Kong, Wong is also very much a Beijing trustee. He is a director of a number of mainland para-state companies, was an advisor to Xinhua (when it performed the role of being the PRC’s local watchdog), was appointed to the Basic Law Consultative Committee and has chaired the influential Po Leung Kuk.

For many years Fok clung onto the rotten borough seat in Legco representing the Sport, Performing Arts, Culture and Publications constituency, gaining notoriety for his laziness and failure to attend council meetings.

However his sloth proved to be no barrier to his other key sports position, that of president of the Hong Kong Football Association and therefore Hong Kong’s chief delegate to the scandal ridden FIFA where he distinguished himself as a staunch defender of its former president Sepp Blatter.

Even after the revelations of major corruption scandals that occurred under Blatter’s watch, Fok voted for him to remain in office on the tenuous grounds that he had done a lot to help smaller nations during his reign.

Now Fok’s son Kenneth looks set to inherit the positions occupied by his 70-year old father. Fok Junior was ‘elected’ as a vice-president by the Olympic Committee’s council without a single hand raised in opposition. He is its youngest member at the age of 37 and modestly said after his ‘election’ that “I have no plan to replace my father. In the least, there is not any time frame at all”

Note the words “time frame”, they can be translated as meaning: not yet.

What is most notable about the people who run the local Olympic Committee is that not one of them is an active sportsperson. True, some of them played competitive sports a very long time ago but most are way too old to be involved these days and the committee’s youngest member Kenneth has a zero record of any kind of sporting achievement.

Normally Olympic committees have well-known sportsmen and women in their ranks. This is considered essential to maintain a close link with the athletes and sportspeople in their areas. At best Hong Kong has a committee composed of people who are sports bureaucrats, certainly not players.

Despite the cabalistic nature of Hong Kong’s Olympic Committee, its composition is barely mentioned and real sportspeople are terrified of raising the issue, fearing that to do so would jeopardize their ability to participate in international events.

Fok’s tight control over international sport has yielded very few results but he loves flying around the world as Hong Kong’s Mr. Sport. Unfortunately this portly bespectacled gent is far from qualifying as the most suitable representative of the many young people who are striving for sporting excellence.

Elsewhere in the world the stench of cronyism in international sporting organizations is being exorcised, but here in Hong Kong it is not even discussed.

– Contact us at [email protected]


Hong Kong-based journalist, broadcaster and book author

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