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District teams nurture young football players

The "District Football Teams Training Scheme" targeted at 17- to 19-year-olds has provided its latest batch of 600 participants with systematic training leading to the Inter-district Football Competition.

Launched by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) and the Hong Kong Football Association in 2000, the training scheme provides intensive training to youngsters with basic football skills and forms football teams in 18 districts every year.

Competitions form an integral of the training, which consists of two stages. During stage one, all trainees plays in the Nike Manchester United Premier Cup Youth Football League. About two-thirds of the intake will be promoted to stage two, during which they will represent their respective districts in the Inter-district Football Competition.

Over the past five years, the scheme has produced a number of outstanding football teams. Among them, Kwai Tsing and Tai Po, champion and first runner-up in the 2003-04 Inter-district Football Competition, were invited to play in Hong Kong Football Association's Second Division League and are ranked sixth and ninth respectively in the division.

At Mong Kok Stadium today (June 12), the four teams that emerged victorious from 36 previous matches of the 2005 Inter-district Football Competition competed for the championship and runners-up. The championship went to Yuen Long, Kwai Tsing became the first runner-up, Kwun Tong the second and Shatin the third.

Presenting prizes to the winning teams were Legislative Council Member Ms Tam Heung-man, Deputy Director of Leisure and Cultural Services Mr Alan Siu Yu-bun, representative of Hong Kong Football Association Mr Chan Ping, Marketing Manager of Nike Mr Vincent Lai and representatives of district sports associations and District Councils.

Applications for the 2005-06 training scheme will be invited in August, 2005, and training will begin in November.

Ends/Sunday, June 12, 2005
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