Tatler Asia announces 50 percent refund for Messi’s no-show in Hong Kong



Tatler Asia, the organizer of an exhibition match between Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami and Hong Kong Team, announced on Monday that fans who purchased tickets through official channels for the match will get a 50 percent refund.

Customers who purchased tickets through the official ticketing platform for the match on February 4 will receive an email notification and refunds will be processed within 30 days from an April 12 deadline, but payment times may differ depending on the recipient’s bank policy and processes, according to an announcement released by the organizer.

Tickets for the Hong Kong friendly were sold for HK$880 to 4,880 ($113-624).

Tickets processing fees, other expenses, or any costs related to the competition, including but not limited to transportation and accommodation will not be refunded, said the organizer.

The decision has been met with frustration on Chinese social media, with people saying that fans are the sole victim of the incident.

“We do not accept the organizer’s practice of not refunding airfare and hotel expenses,” said a user on China’s X-like social media platform Sina Weibo.

The Argentine soccer star let down more than 38,000 local fans and tourists when he sat out the game at the Hong Kong Stadium due to what he said was an injury. However, on February 7, Messi played for over 30 minutes during a friendly game against Japanese Vissel Kobe in Tokyo seemingly with high spirits.

Amid controversy over his absence from the Hong Kong game, Messi posted a video on Sina Weibo on February 19, responding to his failure to take the field in Hong Kong, saying that he was “truly unable to play due to injury.”

In the video, Messi clarified that he didn’t intend to skip the game, but circumstances forced him to do so due to inflammation of his adductor muscle. He also conveyed a heartfelt appreciation for Chinese fans, expressing his hope to reunite with them soon.

Kenneth Fok Kai-kong, a deputy to the 14th National People’s Congress, said in an interview during the two sessions that he hoped to move on from Messi’s no-show in Hong Kong and that there are many world-class athletes who have good feelings about Hong Kong.