A Statement From Tatler Asia About Tatler XFEST Hong Kong

February 8, 2024

We apologise to all those who were disappointed by the football match between the Hong Kong Team and Inter Miami CF on Sunday, February 4th. An event that we had hoped to be the pride of the city, and which we have worked very hard on for months, has become the source of great heartbreak.

But we are also heartbroken. We put our blood and sweat into bringing a world-class football match to Hong Kong and we were let down along with all of you. Inter Miami had committed under contract that all of their marquee players — Messi, Alba, Busquets and Suárez — would be required to play for 45 minutes unless injured. But as it turned out, we were informed by Inter Miami CF that Messi and Suárez could not play due to injury.

Fans come to see a football game and star players, and injuries are part of the game. But what upsets us was the seeming lack of respect shown to the crowd. When we learned that Messi would not be playing, we pleaded with Inter Miami CF ownership and management to urge him to stand up, engage with the spectators and explain why he couldn’t play. He didn’t. The fact that Messi and Suárez played in Japan on February 7th feels like another slap in the face.

We have invested millions of dollars and months of hard work into bringing a world-class event to Hong Kong, the city that is our home and where we have been headquartered for more than 45 years. Our aspiration was to create an iconic moment in support of the government’s efforts to remind the world how relevant and exciting Hong Kong is. That dream is broken today for us and all those who bought tickets to see Messi on the pitch.

We have been in discussions with the government to resolve the issue. We also invited the Consumer Council to participate in the talks. We will not escape our responsibility as organisers and that is why Tatler Asia will offer all those who purchased match-day tickets from the official channels a 50% refund. Details about the refund process will be provided in a separate communication by mid-March.

We share here our P&L, which shows the magnitude of the loss and the burden we now face as a company. We are doing this out of a commitment to being transparent with all those who purchased tickets and all stakeholders.

Once again, we are deeply sorry. Information on the refund process can be found here.