Messi fans offered refund for missed Hong Kong friendly
Tickets buyers to receive 50% refund due to Inter Miami superstar's absence.
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The organizer of the Hong Kong XI vs. Inter Miami friendly, in which Argentine superstar Lionel Messi did not play because of an injury, offered a partial refund on tickets, Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) reported Friday.
"We will not escape our responsibility as organisers and that is why Tatler Asia will offer all those who purchased match-day tickets from the official channels a 50 percent refund," according to a statement by Tatler Asia.
It added that it would announce details about the partial refunds by mid-March.
Inter Miami won the friendly 4-1 at the Hong Kong Stadium. Fans were angry and booed Inter Miami, who were without Messi and chanted "refund" to protest his absence.
Messi, 36, is reportedly battling a hamstring problem.
Tatler Asia had anticipated to make a profit of 13 million Hong Kong Dollars ($1.66 million) but it is estimated that the luxury lifestyle publication would lose 43 million Hong Kong Dollars (nearly $5.5 million) on the event.
Inter Miami's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez also did not play against Hong Kong XI and US club's head coach Gerardo Martino said Messi and Suarez were ineligible because "a decision was taken together with the medical team."
Inter Miami apologized Thursday for Messi's absence against the Hong Kong XI.
But the FIFA World Cup champion played for more than 30 minutes Wednesday in another friendly against Japanese club Vissel Kobe.
Inter Miami, who ended their preseason tour in Tokyo, will next face Messi's boyhood club, Newell's Old Boys of Argentina, in a friendly in the US state of Florida on Feb. 16.
The new MLS (Major League Soccer) season in the US and Canada, which Inter Miami will play, has been scheduled to start Feb. 21.
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