Lionel Messi Fans Refunded in Hong Kong Amid Outcry Over Tokyo Appearance

Lionel Messi Fans Refunded in Hong Kong Amid Outcry Over Tokyo Appearance
3 months ago2 min read

The fallout from Lionel Messi's absence at an Inter Miami match in Hong Kong has reverberated across the football world, leading to a wave of discontent and demands for accountability.

Organized by Tatler Asia, the much-anticipated friendly match turned into a debacle when Messi failed to make an appearance due to a groin injury, leaving fans disillusioned and outraged. In response to the backlash, Tatler Asia announced it would refund fans 50% of their ticket costs, amounting to a staggering $56m HKD (£5.7m).

The controversy deepened when Messi resurfaced on the pitch in Tokyo just days later, sparking allegations of a deliberate snub to Hong Kong. Messi, in a Weibo post, expressed regret over the incident and pledged his desire to return to Hong Kong, but the damage had already been done.

The anger extended beyond the football field, with political undertones emerging from mainland China. Regina Ip, a prominent figure in Hong Kong's executive council, insinuated political motives behind the debacle, suggesting Messi should be banned from returning to Hong Kong.

In response to the growing outcry, Tatler Asia issued an apology, acknowledging the disappointment felt by fans and attributing the debacle to unforeseen circumstances. However, activists and legislators remained critical, condemning Inter Miami's participation in the match amidst concerns about human rights in Hong Kong.

Benedict Rogers of Hong Kong Watch emphasized the need for continued scrutiny of David Beckham and Inter Miami FC, urging the global community to hold them accountable for their actions.

Amidst mounting pressure, Tatler Asia's decision to offer refunds signifies a significant financial setback, with the brand withdrawing a government grant application and facing substantial losses. However, for disillusioned fans and concerned activists, the repercussions of this incident extend far beyond monetary compensation, underscoring the broader implications of sports and politics intertwining on the global stage.

Inter Miami has yet to comment on the unfolding controversy, leaving fans and observers eagerly awaiting further developments.


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