Disappointment for Hong Kong Fans as Messi Misses Inter Miami Game; Authorities Consider Funding Cut

Lionel Messi’s highly anticipated appearance in Hong Kong concluded in disappointment for fans as the Argentine star remained on the bench during Inter Miami’s 4-1 victory against a local League XI in a sold-out friendly match on Sunday.

The stadium echoed with loud boos as the game ended, and disgruntled spectators chanted “refund.” The Hong Kong government expressed its displeasure, suggesting that match organizers Tatler Asia might face funding reductions due to Messi’s absence from the game.

The Major Sports Events Committee (MSEC) had allocated HK$15 million (US$1.92 million) for the event, along with a HK$1 million grant for the venue. In response to Messi’s non-participation, the government stated, “Regarding Messi not playing the match today, the Government, as well as all football fans, are extremely disappointed about the organizers’ arrangement. The organizer owes all football fans an explanation.”

The MSEC indicated that it would take appropriate actions, including possible reductions in funding, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the agreement, as a consequence of Messi’s absence.

Organizers expressed their disappointment, as they had anticipated Messi, along with his former Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez of Uruguay, to participate in the match. However, both players did not feature, leaving fans and organizers alike disillusioned with the outcome.

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