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September
Audited accounts of Real Madrid Football Match received

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The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) today (September 8) confirmed that it had received from the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) the audited accounts of the Real Madrid football match. The Department also noted that the HKFA had disclosed information on the audited accounts to the public.

The total cost of organising the Real Madrid football match was $34,931,015. Offset by the total proceeds of $34,108,349, there was a small deficit of $822,666.

A preliminary comparison with the initial budget submitted by the HKFA showed that receipts from ticket sales and sponsorship were higher than estimated while some expenditure items like travelling expenses (including air fare), insurance, inviting Mainland players, etc. were lower than the original forecast. Moreover, the HKFA has also waived the charging of sanction fee. The Department initially considered the accounts in order but would examine them in detail. The deficit would be met by the Government and the amount involved is substantially smaller than the maximum financial guarantee of $10 million originally underwritten by the Government to facilitate HKFA to organise the event.

"With the wide range of benefits and extensive mileage that Hong Kong had gained from staging the event, the moderate financial support provided by the Government was considered money well-spent," the spokesman for the Department said.

He noted that the visit of Real Madrid had been well-received by the community. 40 000 spectators enjoyed a top class football match at the Hong Kong Stadium on 8 August, while another 30 000 audience comprising trainees of youth football schemes, SARS affected families, elderly and disabled members of the community, etc. watched an exciting training session of Real Madrid free a day earlier. The match on 8 August was also watched on television by over 3.2 million people in Hong Kong, the highest TV rating ever registered locally.

The Real Madrid football team also participated in a Community Chest dinner and had raised a sizable donation for charity. Members of the team also took part in tourism promotion activities. Over 2 700 tourists visited Hong Kong to specially watch the match.

"The event also generated extensive publicity for Hong Kong internationally. Twenty-three TV stations from Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Africa broadcast the Real Madrid football match in Hong Kong live. Around 50 overseas journalists had specially followed the team to visit Hong Kong and cover the event. A search through the Internet also showed that the event in Hong Kong was widely reported by various media agencies and organisations all over the world. This has extensively helped spread the message that Hong Kong has recovered from SARS impact and is a safe place to visit," he said.

"The event had also helped to encourage local consumption. It had made a significant contribution to the economic relaunch of Hong Kong, " the spokesman added.

On the football side, the match showed that our Hong Kong players could rise up to the challenge. As a result, it had helped stimulate public interest in football which would be a booster to its development in Hong Kong.

An opinion poll conducted by the Home Affairs Bureau after the match showed that over 90% of the respondents supported the organising of similar major events to strengthen the economy, enhance our international image, boost tourism and drive community participation," the spokesman added.

"We are pleased to note that the HKFA has committed to review the method for sale of tickets in football matches," the spokesman further added.

End/Monday, September 8, 2003

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