The Government expressed deep disappointment over Lionel Messi not playing at Tatler XFEST Hong Kong, Hong Kong Team vs Inter Miami CF today, and the organiser failing to provide a detailed explanation promptly.
In a statement, the Government said that many Hong Kong fans looked forward to the match with enthusiasm, and a lot of tourists came to Hong Kong particularly for the match.
The Government and all football fans are extremely disappointed that Messi could neither play in the friendly match, nor explain to the fans in person upon request, the statement noted.
The way that the organiser and Inter Miami CF handled the situation could not meet the expectations of the fans who showed strong support to Messi, especially those visitors who came all the way to Hong Kong for the match, the Government added.
Furthermore, the Government explained that it had awarded the event "M" Mark status and apart from earmarking a matching grant of $15 million, another $1 million was allocated for the venue by the Major Sports Events Committee (MSEC).
It also provided a variety of co-ordination and assistance, including venue arrangement and crowd management, in order to offer football fans a wonderful game and an opportunity to witness the world-class player showcasing his skills.
The Government pointed out that the Culture, Sports & Tourism Bureau and the MSEC will rely on the terms and conditions of the agreement in requiring the organiser to take responsibility, which include reducing the amount of funding as a result of Messi not being able to play in the match.


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