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HK sports chief: organizer confirmed Messi's no-show 10 minutes before game ended, proposal for Messi to talk to fans turned down

By Atlas Shao in Hong Kong | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-02-05 13:22

The Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mr Kevin Yeung, meets the media Monday noon, on Tatler XFEST Hong Kong, Hong Kong Team vs Inter Miami CF, at the Central Government Offices. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Argentine footballer Lionel Messi was only confirmed not to show up at a friendly match between Hong Kong and Inter Miami CF 10 minutes before the game ended on Sunday, revealed the Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism Kevin Yeung Yun-hung on Monday.

Yeung said proposals to ask Messi to talk to fans afterwards or receive the prize on behalf of the team were turned down.

Speaking to media about the no-show saga, Yeung said the organizer, Tatler Asia, confirmed before the game that Messi would play in the second leg of the game. The government swiftly approached the organizer when it noticed that Messi didn't appear on the field as scheduled in the second half of the game. The organizer only confirmed Messi's no-show owing to his injury 10 minutes before the game finished.

Expressing disappointment over the saga, Yeung said the sponsorship conditions stipulated that Messi need to play for 45 minutes, saved for security or health condition.

The no-show of the Argentine superstar footballer at Sunday's much-anticipated friendly match between Inter Miami CF and Hong Kong , after Messi's appearance had been widely touted in its ticket sales and promotion, infuriated fans, who booed the organizer and demanded a refund.

Messi's non-appearance quickly made headlines at home and abroad.

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