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Hong Kong officials demand answers for Lionel Messi’s absence from Inter Miami match

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Hong Kong officials demand answers for Lionel Messi’s absence from Inter Miami match

Hong Kong fans left disappointed after Lionel Messi doesn’t play in match, sparking anger and demands for refunds

The Hong Kong government has expressed its disappointment as Argentine soccer legend Lionel Messi did not play in a sold-out soccer match on Sunday at the Hong Kong stadium. Despite nearly 40,000 fans showing up and some paying as much as $624 per ticket, they were left deflated when Messi was left on the bench during Inter Miami’s 4-1 victory over the Hong Kong XI.

According to the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner, the contract signed between the government and match organizer Tatler XFEST required Messi to play at least 45 minutes, subject to concerns about his safety and physical condition.

Following the match, a small group of fans gathered outside Inter Miami’s hotel, holding signs and expressing their frustration. One fan, Ada Kam, told CNN that “we feel a little cheated by the club because we paid, and I think most people pay, to see Messi and it was announced almost exclusively that Messi was going to play.”

The Hong Kong government, which provided more than $2 million in subsidies to the match organizer, said that they were “extremely disappointed” by Messi’s lack of playing time. The disappointment has also led fans to demand refunds due to Messi’s absence from the match.

Miami coach Gerardo Martino stated that the decision not to play Messi was made too late due to an injury. Messi was also expected to make an appearance in light of his absence from the match, but it never materialized.

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The government has expressed concern over the failure to resolve this issue and said it had first contacted the organizer at the start of the second half of the match when officials noticed Messi was still on the bench. The organizer had told the government that Messi might not be able to play due to injuries, but only confirmed that he would not play 10 minutes before full time ended.

Despite the disappointment, fans may have the chance to witness Messi’s prowess in China as he is scheduled to return in March for friendlies against Nigeria and Ivory Coast.

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