January 12, 2024
BEIJING – Students, young athletes and grassroots families in Hong Kong will get a chance to see Argentinian soccer star Lionel Messi and his Inter Miami CF team for free at the team’s training session next month, with a total of 15,000 tickets due to be distributed, the city’s cultural chief announced on Thursday.
Inter Miami CF, a soccer club from Major League Soccer in the United States, will play a one-off exhibition match at the Hong Kong Stadium on Feb 4 against a selection of invited Hong Kong players. As part of the event, the Miami team will also hold an open training session on Feb 3.
Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said a total of 15,000 free tickets for entry to the training session will be provided to local students, young athletes, athletes with disabilities as well as grassroots families
At a news conference on Thursday, Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said a total of 15,000 free tickets for entry to the training session will be provided to local students, young athletes, athletes with disabilities as well as grassroots families.
Yeung said the Hong Kong government allocated HK$16 million ($2 million) to support the event, and residents can watch free TV livestreaming of the event on match day.
Hong Kong has been selected to host the Inter Miami CF’s debut in Asia, an endorsement of the city as an Asian hub for hosting world-class events, Yeung said.
With the participation of Messi, an eight-time Ballon d’Or winner who led the Argentinian team to victory at the FIFA World Cup in 2022, the match scheduled for Feb 4 has attracted global attention and all tickets were sold out within 60 minutes of going on sale, the organizer said.
The organizer will arrange two special sessions, inviting some players from the Inter Miami CF and the Hong Kong team to interact with young local soccer players and charitable organizations. Yeung added that he hopes the exhibition match will encourage more young Hong Kong athletes to pursue their soccer dreams.
Fok Kai-shan, chairman of the Football Association of Hong Kong, China, said that the exhibition match and related events will allow Hong Kong soccer fans to interact with international stars, including Messi and his teammates Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets. Fok said he hopes the Hong Kong team will send its best line-up for the match.