Man United match 'could have Mega Events Fund cash cut'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 February, 2013, 4:37am

Mega Events Fund could still withdraw financial support from the Manchester United versus Kitchee FC soccer game if the latter fails to fulfil its duties, said fund chief Jeffrey Lam kin-fung.

The organiser must attract a quota of visitors to Hong Kong, and ensure Manchester United football stars play in the city. However, funding requirements do not include giving locals adequate access to tickets.

We are not the organiser. The organiser Kitchee has the right to decide how to divide and sell the tickets

"If the organiser cannot fulfil the listed requirements they were given, we will withdraw part of the HK$8 million contribution to the event," said Lam, adding that Kitchee had not yet been given the full amount.

The friendly match, scheduled for July 29, was criticised vehemently yesterday by local fans when just 18,000 of the 40,000 tickets were released for local public purchase - with many of the best seats reserved.

Lam stressed that the funding criteria were normally geared towards benefiting the city. Candidates are asked to attract overseas visitors, create jobs, boost related trades and services, and use the event to raise Hong Kong's international image.

A spokeswoman for the Tourism Commission said the HK$8 million was "only a small part" of the event's total budget.

"We are not the organiser. The organiser Kitchee has the right to decide how to divide and sell the tickets," said Lam.

Kitchee gave 4,000 tickets to the Tourism Board for distribution via tour packages, Manchester United got 4,000 for its own travel agent to use for overseas promotion, while 6,000 tickets were allocated to Manchester United and its sponsors for internal purchasing. The final 3,642 tickets were reserved for organiser distribution to the Hong Kong soccer community.