Date
25 May 2017
Football officials say the substandard condition of the Hong Kong Stadium pitch causes players to slip and fall during matches. Photos: https://hkbujournalism.wordpress.com, HKEJ
Football officials say the substandard condition of the Hong Kong Stadium pitch causes players to slip and fall during matches. Photos: https://hkbujournalism.wordpress.com, HKEJ

Hong Kong Stadium in sorry state again after HK$31 mln facelift

Moss has overrun the Hong Kong Stadium, highlighting poor upkeep for a facility with a maintenance budget of HK$12 million (US$1.5 million) a year.

Fertilizer and too much ground water are causing the rampant growth of the small flowerless plants which thrive in damp, shady surroundings, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports, citing grass experts.

The experts are blaming mismanagement for the situation, which has already caused an adviser to resign, according to reports.

It’s not the first time the stadium’s management is facing criticism over the maintenance of the venue, which regularly hosts the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens.

In July 2013, it made international headlines after being called “killer stadium” by English Premier League representatives when heavy rain turned the pitch into a muddy pond.

It has only been a year since the stadium reopened after a five-month HK$31 million renovation and remedial work on the pitch, according to Ming Pao Daily .

The money was donated by the Hong Kong Jockey Club to the Leisure and Cultural Services department (LCSD) which operates the facility.

Participants in two recent events complained about substandard pitch conditions.

The Hong Kong Football Association said the rampant growth of moss in the infield had made the pitch slippery and uneven, causing players to slip and fall during matches.

An LCSD spokesman said no problems were found during last month’s Hong Kong Premier League matches and that the pitch held up well.

Officials said frequent rain and lack of sunshine during August and September had allowed moss to grow quicker on a “small patch”.

They said work is under way to improve water drainage and plans have been made to tackle the moss problem with ultraviolet light and chemicals.

Grass expert Prof. Chau Kwai-Cheong of the Chinese University of Hong Kong said an overgrowth of moss was found during a match between South China Athletic Association and Juventus F.C. in late July.

This was likely caused by rampant use of fertilizer and poor pitch management, he said.

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