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Messi Fans To Get 50% Refund For No-Show In Hong Kong

Lionel Messi’s fans in Hong Kong, who purchased tickets for a friendly match he ultimately skipped, will receive a partial refund of 50%, according to the event organizer.

Messi’s unexpected absence from the February game, attributed to an injury, left Chinese fans disgruntled for weeks.

According to the media, ticketholders seeking refunds must agree not to pursue legal recourse.

The refund process could potentially incur costs of up to HK$56m (£5.6m; $7.1m), the publication reported.

Fans had shelled out as much as HK$4,880 each to witness the 36-year-old Argentine footballer in action, but Messi remained on the sidelines throughout the match.

At the conclusion of the sold-out event at Hong Kong Stadium, some 38,000 attendees voiced their dissatisfaction with boos and demanded refunds.

The news claimed it was informed of Messi’s non-participation only at halftime and promptly notified the authorities.

Hong Kong officials stated they urged Messi to explore alternative solutions, such as engaging with fans on the field, but to no avail.

Shortly after, Messi participated in a match in Japan, citing a “swollen and painful” groin injury as the reason for his absence in Hong Kong.

However, this explanation further fueled discontent among fans and sparked conspiracy theories. The state media outlet Global Times accused Messi and his club, Inter Miami, of harboring “political motives” aimed at “embarrassing” Hong Kong.

Messi refuted these allegations, emphasizing his “special affection” for the people of China.

The fallout persisted for weeks, leading Chinese authorities to cancel two Argentine friendlies scheduled for later that month.

This backlash contrasted sharply with the warm reception Messi received in June of the previous year, during Argentina’s friendly against Australia at Beijing’s Worker’s Stadium.

The news specified that individuals seeking refunds must agree to certain conditions, including refraining from pursuing legal action.

Criticism mounted against the event organizer for its handling of the situation, prompting the withdrawal of its application for a HK$16 million government grant.

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