How much could Lionel Messi’s no-show in Hong Kong cost the Inter Miami match organisers?

How much could Lionel Messi’s no-show in Hong Kong cost the Inter Miami match organisers?

Lionel Messi was unable to play in Inter Miami’s last preseason game in Hong Kong, which caused an uproar among locals who were bitterly disappointed at missing their chance to watch the Argentine superstar in action. The MLS team have since left for Japan but the after effects of the former Barcelona playmaker’s no-show are still being felt, with the match organisers facing losing $1.9 million.

On Monday, the Hong Kong Government released a statement expressing its unhappiness at the situation and revealed one of the main conditions agreed with match organiser Tatler Asia was that Messi play for at least 45 minutes.

According to Hong Kong Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism Kevin Yeung, it was only confirmed 10 minutes before full time in Inter Miami’s 4-1 victory that Messi wouldn’t be appearing at all. “We therefore immediately requested them to explore other remedies, such as Messi appearing on the field to interact with fans or receiving the trophy. Unfortunately, this did not work out,” Yeung said.

Messi reveals why he missed Hong Kong game

The latest to speak about the fallout was Messi himself, with the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner explaining what had caused him to miss the game. “It was bad luck that I couldn’t play. I felt some discomfort in my adductor when we were in Saudi Arabia. An MRI scan showed I had some swelling, but no injury. I’ll try again in the next one. I missed the game in Hong Kong because of some muscle discomfort, which was a shame. I really wanted to play, especially because a lot of people came. It was so far away and people were so excited… but that’s part of the game.”

Will Messi play for Inter Miami against Vissel Kobe?

“Hopefully we can come back again and I can play. It was a pity. The preseason tour is coming to an end and I would like to play the last game in Japan before going back. My fitness will be assessed after today’s training session and then we’ll make a decision on whether I play or not. I feel much better,” Messi revealed.

Hong Kong Government may not pay due to contract breach

As a result of Messi not featuring in Hong Kong, The Herons and Tatler may well be deemed to have breached the terms of the contract agreed with the Hong Kong Government, who could opt out of paying what they were due to.

“The event, named Tatler XFEST Hong Kong and organised by Tatler Asia, was awarded “M” Mark status by the Major Sports Events Committee, which also provided a matching grant of 15 million Hong Kong dollars ($1.9 million) and a further grant of 1 million Hong Kong dollars (almost $130,000) for the venue,” reads the government statement.

Messi and Miami will take on Andrés Iniesta’s former team Vissel Kobe in Japan on Thursday (kickoff at 5:00 a.m. ET) before returning to the United States. They will then face Messi’s boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys on 15 February before starting their MLS campaign at home to Real Salt Lake on 21 February.


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