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No Messi: Hong Kong govt to move legal; asks for refund

No Messi: Hong Kong govt to move legal; asks for refund

Hong Kong: The Hong Kong government is preparing to take legal action against the organisers for not allowing Inter Miami's Argentine superstar Lionel Messi to play in the exhibition match. Fans also came forward demanding a refund of the ticket amount. Tatler Asia, the organisers, had informed that Messi will play against the Hong Kong XI during Inter Miami's Hong Kong tour. For this alone, the Hong Kong government has given 30 lakh US dollars (about Rs. 25 crores) as assistance. This was in addition to assistance in organising the competition, setting up the venue and controlling the spectators.

However, not only Messi but also another prominent player, Luis Suarez, did not enter the field. The government has informed us that since the organisers have not kept their word, there will be steps to be taken, including demanding a refund of this amount.

The ticket prices ranged from $100 (roughly Rs. 8,300) to $600 (Rs. 50,000). This was almost twice the normal rate. There were 38,323 people present to watch the match with great enthusiasm. Frustrated fans could be seen en masse in the gallery, calling for Messi to be sent off in the second half and ticket money refunded. Inter Miami co-owner and former England captain David Beckham also faced fan fury. Many tourists came to Hong Kong after learning about the competition. Inter Miami won the match 4-1.

Meanwhile, Inter Miami coach Tata Martino defended the decision, stating that Messi and his former Barcelona colleague Suarez could not be risked.

He said that they understood the disappointment of the fans for Messi's absence as well as Suarez's, and they asked for the fans' forgiveness. They wished that they could send both to the field at least for a while, but the risk was too big, Martino said.

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TAGS:Hong KongMessiFootballInter Miami
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