Hong Kong fans furious after Messi sits out match; government may cut funding support

Hong Kong fans furious after Messi sits out match; government may cut funding support

HONG KONG, CHINA – FEBRUARY 04: Fans react after not seeing Inter Miami’s Argentine ahead Lionel Messi play throughout the pleasant match between Hong Kong Team and Inter Miami CF at Hong Kong Stadium on February 4, 2024 in Hong Kong, China. 

China News Service | China News Service | Getty Images

The Hong Kong government stated it may cut funding for a pleasant match after soccer legend Lionel Messi didn’t take the pitch on Sunday.

U.S. Major League Soccer group Inter Miami defeated a choose Hong Kong XI 4-1 in a pleasant match, however did so with out the assistance of the Argentine celebrity who remained on the bench for the entire 90 minutes.

The Miami Herald reported that Messi had an MRI last week forward of a pleasant match in Saudi Arabia. While he was reportedly anticipated to be left off the roster, he appeared on the 83rd minute when the Florida group was already down 0-6.

The South China Morning Post known as Sunday’s match the “greatest let-down of all time,” reporting that fans have been booing and calling for refunds on the ultimate whistle.

Inter Miami didn’t instantly reply to CNBC’s request for remark.

The pleasant match had been awarded “M” Mark standing which is granted to main sporting occasions held within the metropolis. The designation permits organizers to faucet on chosen support measures from the town’s government. Hong Kong stated it had awarded the occasion an identical grant of 15 million Hong Kong {dollars} ($1.9 million) and a venue grant of HK$1 million.

The metropolis’s government issued a press release Sunday expressing “deep disappointment” over Messi not taking part in and for the organizer failing to supply an in depth rationalization promptly.

“Many Hong Kong fans regarded ahead to the match with enthusiasm, and plenty of vacationers got here to Hong Kong significantly for the match. The Government, in addition to all soccer fans, are extraordinarily upset that Messi might neither play within the pleasant match, nor clarify to the fans in individual upon request,” the assertion stated, including that “the way in which that the organizer and Inter Miami CF dealt with the scenario couldn’t meet the expectations of the fans.”

Event organizer Tatler Asia featured Messi and teammate Luis Suárez on promotion materials for the match. Suárez additionally didn’t play throughout the match. The organizer additionally expressed its “excessive disappointment” in a press release.

“Despite some information reviews, Tatler didn’t have any details about the non-participation of Messi or Suárez previous to kick off. Messi and Suárez have been deemed unfit to play by their group’s medical division, to everybody’s, together with ours, disappointment,” it stated in an Instagram post.

The Hong Kong government stated it will take steps to carry the organizer accountable based on phrases of the deal, together with a doable reduction in funding.

Ticket prices for the match price between HK$880 to HK$4,880, based on a CNBC verify on Klook, the occasion’s ticketing agent. SCMP reported that some fans spent “hundreds” on journey and resale tickets.

Inter Miami is scheduled to play a pleasant towards Japanese J-League aspect Vissel Kobe in Tokyo on Feb. 7, with adult ticket prices starting from 10,000 yen ($67.39) to an eye-watering 3 million yen ($20,214.45).

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