Hong Kong Football Supporters to Receive Partial Refunds Following Lionel Messi’s Absence

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Disgruntled Lionel Messi fans who were unable to catch the Argentine football star in action during a friendly in Hong Kong would get a partial refund, the match organiser announced.

Messi was contracted to play in Hong Kong friendly: Minister - TODAY

Hundreds of livid fans in Hong Kong in February sought refunds after Messi spent the entirety of an Inter Miami match against Hong Kong XI in a tracksuit on the bench due to an injury.

No Messi, no point? Miami fans exit immediately after star man was taken  off| All Football

Tatler Asia, the organiser of the exhibition match, announced on Monday that fans who purchased the tickets through official channels would receive a 50 per cent refund provided they agree not pursue legal cases and drop the existing ones.

The customers would receive an email and have until 12 April to respond to them and accept the terms and conditions, the organiser said.

Fans boo David Beckham and Lionel Messi after latter sits out Hong Kong friendly

Tatler Asia added that the refunds would be processed within 30 days after the deadline, while the actual date for receiving the money would depend on the banks.

Ticket holders who made the purchase through the organisers and other event sponsors would be contacted directly by the account managers, it said.

Tickets for the Hong Kong game were sold at upwards of HK$1,000 (£101) and drew around 38,000 spectators from the city and mainland China, who were all left disappointed with the Messi no-show.

Ticket processing fees and other expenses such as any costs related to the competition, transportation and accommodation will not be refunded, the organisers added. The partial refunds were likely to cost Tatler Asia up to HK$56m (£5.6m).

The organisers claimed that it was told only at halftime that Messi would not be playing and that he refused to “explore other remedies” such as appearing on the field to interact with fans.

It's a luxury to have him': how Messi is building on Beckham's legacy | LA  Galaxy | The Guardian

Just days after sitting out the Hong Kong match, Messi put in a 30-minute game appearance in Tokyo, further intensifying the backlash against him.

China’s state-run newspaper, the Global Times, published an editorial at that time, arguing that the impact of the controversy surrounding the football star “has far exceeded the realm of sports”.

Las mejores imágenes del primer título de Messi con el Inter Miami - Foto 8  de 18

The furore led to the Chinese officials cancelling two Argentina friendlies which had been due to take place in the country in March.

Messi addressed the controversy and issued an apology to his Hong Kong fans through the Chinese social media platform Weibo.

“Hello to all my fans in mainland China and Hong Kong! As I said in the press conference, it was a real shame not to be able to play in Hong Kong the other day due to a groin injury that had swollen and I was in pain,” the Weibo post said.

“Anyone who knows me knows that I always want to play, that’s what I always want, to do my best in any game. And especially in these games when we travel so far and fans are excited to see us attend the game healthily.”

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