Reports in the local media are suggesting that YFCMD have managed to attain new sponsorship, and still have a chance at competing in the Premier League next year.
Last week offside.hk reported that, due to rumours that J-League Division 2 side Yokohama FC would be opting to not continue their financial backing, it seemed unlikely that the club would be competing in the top tier next season. Left winger Fernando, arguably the club’s star player of last season, has already confirmed his departure to champions Kitchee, while their manager Lee Chi Kin also admitted that he was unsure of the future of the team after their playoff final defeat to South China.
Founded in 2008 as ‘Fourway Athletic’, they competed in the top flight under slight variations of that name until the 2012-13 season, when Yokohama FC purchased the club and renamed it ‘Yokohama FC Hong Kong’. Though the side was regularly drawn towards the bottom of the league fighting against relegation, they gained support through the sizeable Japanese community based in the city. With the creation of the Premier League and AFC regulations stating that two clubs owned by the same company would not be allowed to participate in continental cup competitions, Hong Kong-based company Modic Entertainment offered to provide sponsorship and took ownership of the team while Yokohama FC (Japan) continued to help with funding. The team was then re-branded as YFCMD, whose young yet talented players helped them to finish a creditable 5th in the league and make it to the finals of the playoffs.
But with their Japanese counterpart’s decision to withdraw their backing at the end of the season, it looked as though we might not ever see them ever take to the field again. However, it now seems that the club have negotiated a deal with a sponsor, and are currently in negotiations with the Hong Kong FA as to whether they will be able to be granted a Premier League license. YFCMD were the only club to not have applied for a license from the other 8 teams, but may have a way back if the chairman of the HKFA decides to allow it despite the deadline passing.
The news will come as something of a blow to Tai Po FC and their fans, after chief executive Mark Sutcliffe admitted that they could still approach the New Territories team about staying in the division even though they suffered relegation, as the HKFA have stated that they are seeking an even ten teams for the top flight next year.
Should YFCMD be allowed to stay in the Premier League, even though they missed the application deadline?