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Hong Kong Stadium ( ) is the main sports venue of Hong Kongmarker. Redeveloped from the old Government Stadium it re-opened as Hong Kong Stadium in 1994. It has a maximum seating capacity of 40,000, including 18,240 at the main level, 3,153 executive seats, 18,559 upper level seats and 48 seats for wheelchair users.

The stadium is located in So Kon Po, Hong Kong Island, a valley near Causeway Baymarker. Most international football matches held in Hong Kong are held at this stadium. It is also the location for the Hong Kong Sevens rugby sevens tournament. Hong Kong Stadium also hosted the IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens twice, in 1997 and 2005.

The Hong Kong Stadium is set to be demolished for housing development after the construction of the new 45,000 seat Kai Tak Multi-Purpose Stadium is completed.

History

So Kon Po was formerly the burial ground for the 1918 fire at Happy Valley Racecoursemarker. Then the Hong Kong Government moved all the tombs to Aberdeenmarker. The old Government Stadium was constructed by 1953 and had a capacity of 25,000. It witnessed the best times of Hong Kong football in the 60s and 70s. At the time, the stadium would be packed full of spectators when a top of the league clash happened and a red flag would be hoisted. Eager spectators without tickets would climb the hill behind the stadium to see the game.

The old Government Stadium was only partially covered, without sufficient seats or lighting systems. In the 90s, the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club proposed a reconstruction plan so that Hong Kong can have a world class sports stadium.

Even before the reconstruction, the Government Stadium was Hong Kong's most important sports venue, with a sand running track around the football field. As the focus on the design was for football only, the track went to 450m, 50m longer than standard. Numerous schools held their athletic meetings here.

1994 Re-construction and Wembley International

After reconstruction was completed in 1994, due to the land size, no running track was built. Forcing the schools to look for alternate venues.

The stadium's management contract was won by Wembley International, a foreign subsidiary of Wembley Stadiummarker, against strong competition, in March 1994.

From the first day there have been serious problems with the pitch. The owners of the stadium, the local urban council were disappointed. It came under fire from local football officials, sports promoters and even Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, who said, before the exhibition match between Manchester United and South China AAmarker on 20 July 1997, "The pitch is cutting up. The surface is just sand-based and the turf doesn't hold well. Injuries can occur."

The government had hoped that the stadium could be used as a music concert venue in order to bring in more rental income. But nearby citizens complained endlessly about 'noise levels', leading to restrictions on noise levels that effectively rendered the stadium unsuitable for concerts. This reduced greatly the income levels of the stadium and the management company, Wembleymarker, ran into financial troubles.

1998 Hong Kong government takeover

Wembley's management tenure at the stadium was abruptly terminated by the Provisional Urban Council (PUC) on 26 May 1998. PUC also asked Urban Services Department (USD) to assume temporary management of the Hong Kong Stadium and has also agreed to USD's proposals to returf the entire pitch of the Hong Kong Stadium. The fundamental issue between the parties was the care and maintenance of the stadium pitch, but also a complaint about an unauthorized bungy jump by Canadian Paul G. Boyle.

In the end, the Hong Kong government was judged to have wrongfully terminated the management agreement and had to pay over HK$20million in damages to Wembley Plc.

Hong Kong Stadium is now managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of Hong Kong, after the Urban Council has been disbanded.

Non-sports events

Alan Tam held a concert at the Hong Kong Stadium from 22 April to 24 April 1994. It was the only solo concert held here.

The only time the venue is used for live events is the Extravaganza of China Olympic Gold Medallists celebration show for the Chinese gold medallists.

Canadian Paul G. Boyle illegally bungy jumped from the roof of the Hong Kong Stadium on the morning of Friday May 24, 1996.[2] He was not arrested but was given a lifetime ban from all Hong Kong urban council facilities. Saturday May 25th,1996, the publicity stunt was front page news of the leading English newspaper the South China Morning Post (SCMP) as well as other leading newspapers world wide.

2008 Bledisloe Cup

On 1 November 2008, the ground became the first stadium outside of Australia or New Zealand to host a match of the Bledisloe Cup, a rugby competition between Australian and New Zealand. New Zealand won the match, 19-14.

Hong Kong First Division League

South Chinamarker and Kitchee will use the sports ground as the home stadium in 2009–10 season.

2019 Rugby World Cup

In addition to the nine venues located in Japan, one venue each from Singaporemarker and Hong Kongmarker have also been proposed to host five matches respectively. The Hong Kong Stadiummarker, with a capacity of 50,000, may host matches.

Facilities

Hong Kong Stadium can accommodate 40,000. The spread is as below:
  • 18240 at main level
  • 18559 at high level
  • 3153 suite level
  • 48 wheelchair


In addition, there are many refreshment kiosks inside the stadium, including McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken...etc.

Other use

The stadium was supposed to be a multi purpose entertainment and sports venue, due to its much greater capacity compared to the other popular and over used Hong Kong Coliseummarker, where nearly all uses are now strictly for popular entertainment. However, its open-air nature has led to noise complaints from residents in tower blocks surrounding the stadium. It has not been allowed to host entertainment events since 1999. A new multi-purpose stadium at South Eastern Kowloon is currently in the planning stage, when it is completed, the Hong Kong Stadium will be demolished to make way for housing developments.

Gallery

Hong Kong Stadium
Image: HongKongStadium_RoofSupport.jpg|Steel frame that supports the canopyImage: HongKongStadium_EastPlatform2.jpg|East GrandstandImage: HongKongStadium_Platform.jpg|Walkway at the GrandstandImage:HK Happy Valley HK Stadium.jpg|Memorial plaque

See also



References

External links




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