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Messi fans to get 50pc refund for Hong Kong fiasco
Published on: Wednesday, March 20, 2024
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Messi fans to get 50pc refund for Hong Kong fiasco
Messi is seen on the bench during the friendly match between Inter Miami and Hong Kong.
HONG KONG: Fans who snapped up tickets to watch Lionel Messi in Hong Kong, only for him to sit out the friendly, will get a 50-percent refund—as long as they don’t launch legal action.

A sell-out crowd paid from 880 Hong Kong dollars ($110) to see the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner in action on February 4 in an Inter Miami tour match against a Hong Kong select XI.

But the 36-year-old Argentine remained glued to the bench with an injury, drawing boos from the crowd—and then a furore in China, which saw his absence as a political snub.

Organiser Tatler Asia on Monday offered a 50-percent refund for “those who purchased tickets through official channels for the match”.

Those who want some of their money back will have to agree to terms and conditions that include not pursuing “proceedings before any court of law, tribunal (or) regulatory authority”.

Under fire for its handling of the fiasco, Tatler withdrew its application for a HK$16 million government grant to fund the event the day after the match.

Inter Miami’s next stop after Hong Kong was Japan—where Messi played 30 minutes of a friendly match against Vissel Kobe in Tokyo, much to the anger of Chinese fans. Meanwhile, Messi has been ruled out of Argentina’s upcoming friendlies in the United States due to a hamstring injury, the Argentina Football Association confirmed on Monday.

The Inter Miami superstar was due to line up for the world champions in friendlies against El Salvador in Philadelphia on Friday before facing Costa Rica in Los Angeles on March 26.

However, the 36-year-old Argentine captain has not recovered after tweaking a hamstring during Miami’s 3-1 victory over Nashville in the Concacaf Champions Cup last week.

Messi, who was substituted just after half-time in the win over Nashville, missed Miami’s win over D.C. United in Washington on Saturday.

“The captain of Argentina, Lionel Messi, will not be able to be in the squad for the friendlies in USA due to a minor injury to the hamstring of his right leg suffered in his team’s match against Nashville SC,” the Argentine federation said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

Miami coach Gerardo Martino had hinted after his team’s win over Washington on Saturday that Messi might miss the March internationals, saying the team wanted to ensure he was fit for next month’s Concacaf Champions Cup quarter-finals.

“It is clear that with him there is an objective that he can play in the quarter-finals of the Concacaf Champions Cup. We’re not going to take any risks,” Martino said.

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