‘People should not bring politics into sports’

Sports Commissioner Yeung Tak-keung said on Saturday that people should not bring political messages into sports events, but added that the definition of political messages depends on the context.

Yeung made the comment on an RTHK programme after organisers of large scale sports events – including the Hong Kong Cyclothon to be held in January – reminded participants not to display any items or wear attire carrying political slogans.

He said the important principle at the Olympics that politics should be left out of sports is applicable to all sports competitions.

When asked what counts as a political message, Yeung said it’s difficult to define, as it would depend on the context, the motive of the speaker and what they wanted to convey.

He said it would not be a problem for people to chant “add oil” during matches generally. However, he noted that some people had wanted to use certain words to encourage others to join certain action before the Hong Kong marathon held last month.

Meanwhile, Yeung said construction work for the future Kai Tak Sports Park has been going quite smoothly despite challenges caused by the pandemic. He said the park – which will house a 50,000-seater stadium – is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

He also said a feasibility study on revamping Hong Kong Stadium the authorities are now carrying out is expected to be completed between 2022 and the start of 2023.

The government has proposed reducing the number of seats at Hong Kong Stadium from the current 40,000 to 9,000 and building running tracks around the pitch. Yeung said the revamp could start after the Kai Tak Sports Park is open for use.