Hong Kong Government Issues Statement Against Lionel Messi’s Absence After $15 Million Grant for Inter Miami Friendly

Published 02/04/2024, 7:50 AM EST

Follow Us

via Reuters

Inter Miami has found themselves in trouble after they kept Lionel Messi off the field against Hong Kong XI. Fans were left frustrated at the team’s actions. Manager Tata Martino was forced to issue a public apology to calm things down. The national government was also quick to react to the situation, with their spokesperson issuing an official statement on behalf of the officials. It is being reported that Messi was contractually obligated to appear for the fixture, and the inability to do so would see financial deductions imposed on the organizers.

America’s Favorite Video Today

The Argentine was benched for the game after the medical team disapproved his inclusion in the starting eleven. La Pulga reportedly picked up a bicep injury against Al Hilal and has been subsequently absent from the team’s fixtures since then. The team management wants to keep their marquee star fresh for their upcoming MLS campaign and could hold him for their upcoming clash against Vissel Kobe.

Hong Kong Gov. displeased with Inter Miami following Lionel Messi’s absence

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

In response to media inquiries on the TATLER XFEST: Team Hong Kong vs International Miami CF Showdown today (February 4), a government spokesperson, made the following statement, “The event has been awarded the “M” Mark recognition by the Major Sports Events Committee (MSEC), and the event has been recognized by the Major Sports Events Committee with a matching grant of $15 million and a venue grant of $1 million.”

He continued, “The Government is extremely disappointed with the organizer’s arrangement, as are the fans, for Messi not being able to play in today’s exhibition match. The Government and the fans are also extremely disappointed with the organizer’s arrangement.”

Trending

Get instantly notified of the hottest Soccer stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The Hong Kong government spokesperson further added. “The organizer owes the fans an explanation. The Major Sports Events Committee will follow up with the organizer in accordance with the terms of the agreement with a possible deduction of sponsorship for the failure of Messi to play.”

Inter Miami following the setback will now travel to Japan as they take on Vissel Kobe on the 7th of February. The team is unlikely to field Lionel Messi yet again with the medical staff adamant about keeping the player fresh for the upcoming MLS campaign. The Herons will kick-start the 2024 season of the MLS as they take on Real Salt Lake in the opening fixture of the tournament on the 22nd of February.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Tens and thousands of people in the stadium to watch Messi were left disappointed by Messi, Beckham and co. Do you agree with Inter Miami’s decision to keep Lionel Messi off the field during their pre-season fixtures? Let us know in the comments below.

WATCH THIS STORY:  Max Verstappen joins Lionel Messi in creating special historic feat

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Written by:

Saurabh Saket

862Articles

One take at a time

While soccer was never my first love, I never realized when I turned into an avid fan who jumps at every missed goal-scoring opportunity. I'm a passionate Borussia Dortmund fan despite my side not lifting the league title in the last twelve years. I love to talk about tiny aspects of the game, discussing every little detail.
Show More>

Edited by:

Rohan Karnad

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

EDITORS' PICK

America’s Favorite Video Today