Tatler Asia's Statement on Lionel Messi’s Non-Participation In the Hong Kong Team vs Inter Miami CF Game on Sunday, February 4th

February 6, 2024

Michel Lamunière, Chairman and CEO of Tatler Asia addressed members of the media on February 5 with the following statement regarding the non-participation of Lionel Messi during the game between Hong Kong Team and Inter Miami CF.

"Good afternoon members of the media.

I am here today to make a short statement on behalf of Tatler Asia in response to the public disappointment in Lionel Messi’s non-participation in the Hong Kong Team vs. Inter Miami CF game on Sunday, February 4th.

Tatler Asia promoted Tatler XFEST Hong Kong under a contractual agreement with Inter Miami CF that marquee players Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets, and any additional highly recognised players that joined the club prior to the game, which applied to Luis Suárez, would play unless injured.

On Sunday, before kick-off, the official team sheet, a list of the players who are available to play in the game, which was submitted by the Inter Miami CF team and signed by the Head Coach Gerardo Martino, showed Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez as substitutes. Accordingly, Tatler Asia had every expectation that both would play.

At half-time, when it was communicated by the Inter Miami CF club management that there would be no possibility for Messi to play in the game due to an injury, Tatler Asia immediately informed the government. Tatler Asia subsequently spent the second half urging the Inter Miami CF leadership to instruct Messi to address the fans, to no avail.

Throughout the whole process, Tatler Asia had the best intention to make the event a great success for Hong Kong by bringing the best players in the world and fully understand and share the disappointment of local and overseas fans and stakeholders.

Nevertheless, we hope there will still be a lasting positive impact on the thousands of Hong Kong youth, young athletes, youth with special needs, and students who took part in the two-day community outreach programme with the marquee players.

Tatler Asia deeply regrets the disappointing ending to what was an exciting occasion, and has decided to officially withdraw its application for the M Mark Event Status & Grant and is committed to working with the government moving forward."

Michel Lamunière, Chairman & CEO, Tatler Asia