The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hong Kong find Real too expensive

Beijing: A match between Real Madrid and the Chinese national side in Hong Kong is in doubt after sponsors said the Spanish giants were asking for too much money.

The Hong Kong government announced last week that the game would be played on August 8 but the China Football Association (CFA) said they had received no official request.

“Until now, we have not officially had any request for a match between the Chinese national team and Real Madrid,” CFA spokesman Dong Hua said.

He said Futebao Company, who are the promoter of the Chinese national team, had not informed them of such a match.

“The CFA knows nothing about it,” he said. A Futebao official said they had never said the Chinese national team would play in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Secretary for Home Affairs Patrick Ho said on July 8 that Real Madrid, including David Beckham, would take on China as part of the territory’s package of events to help kickstart its ailing tourism industry.

The Guangzhou-based Nanfang Sports News quoting the Futebao official said Real had priced themselves out of the market. The newspaper said Real were demanding an appearance fee of two million euros and all travel and accommodation expenses.

[A match involving Real was planned in Calcutta in August, but it had to be cancelled as Real priced themselves too high].

A similar fee was demanded for an appearance against the Chinese national team in Beijing, the paper said. This is why the star-studded nine-time European champions are now playing in the capital a makeshift Chinese XI, sponsored by tobacco giant Hongta and beverage producer Jianliabo, and not the national side.

“We might manage to accept the appearance fee and pay their travel and accommodation, but that is not all. They had other unreasonable conditions that we could not accept,” the Futebao official was quoted as saying. He said Real also wanted 40 per cent of gate receipts. “We had to terminate talks with Real Madrid.”

Real are scheduled to begin an Asian tour on July 25, spending a week in China before heading to Beijing, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur. Hong Kong was also on the itinerary. (AFP)

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