Inter Miami, the organizer of the highly anticipated match in Hong Kong, is facing backlash and criticism after star player Lionel Messi failed to appear on the pitch. In an effort to address the dissatisfaction of both the Hong Kong government and football fans, Inter Miami has announced that they will be offering partial refunds of 50% to ticket-holders. This unexpected decision will cost Tatler Asia, the magazine and lifestyle brand, a staggering $56 million HKD (£5.7 million).
Messi’s absence from the match due to a groin injury sparked outrage among fans, who expressed their displeasure by booing the player. However, the controversy escalated even further when Messi participated in another match in Tokyo just a few days later. Not surprisingly, this turn of events did not sit well with the Hong Kong public, with many perceiving it as a deliberate snub influenced by political motivations.
The anger surrounding Messi’s actions quickly spread beyond the borders of Hong Kong, reaching mainland China, where state media and legislators condemned the incident as well. Regina Ip, the convenor of Hong Kong’s executive council, went so far as to express her hatred for Messi, as well as Inter Miami and the “black hand” behind them, insisting that he should never be allowed to return to Hong Kong.
Following Messi’s appearance in Tokyo, a Chinese state media tabloid, the Global Times, dismissed his injury explanation as unconvincing, and emphasized that the impact of this incident extends well beyond the realm of sports.
Tatler Asia, deeply remorseful for the disappointment caused by the match, issued an apology, expressing their heartfelt apologies to all those affected. The brand invested significant effort into organizing a world-class football match in Hong Kong, only to be let down alongside the disappointed spectators.
Critics had already voiced their concerns regarding Inter Miami’s participation in the match, citing the deteriorating human rights situation in Hong Kong. Benedict Rogers, the chief executive of Hong Kong Watch, urged the world to keep their focus on David Beckham, putting pressure on him for allowing Inter Miami FC to play in Hong Kong in the first place.
The decision to offer partial refunds came after the consumer council received a staggering 1,178 complaints related to the match. In response to these complaints, Tatler Asia has made the difficult decision to compensate ticket-holders, resulting in a loss of $43 million HKD instead of the expected profit of $13 million HKD. As a result, the brand has withdrawn its application for a $16 million HKD government grant to fund the match, a grant that had already been approved.
In light of these developments, Inter Miami has been approached for comment, but has yet to release a statement regarding the situation.
1. Why did Lionel Messi not appear on the pitch during the match in Hong Kong?
Lionel Messi did not appear due to a groin injury.
2. What is Inter Miami doing to address the dissatisfaction of ticket-holders?
Inter Miami has announced that they will be offering partial refunds of 50% to ticket-holders.
3. How much will Tatler Asia lose as a result of the partial refunds?
Tatler Asia will lose a staggering $56 million HKD (£5.7 million).
4. Why did Messi’s absence from the match cause outrage?
Fans were outraged because Messi participated in another match in Tokyo just a few days later, leading them to perceive his absence as a deliberate snub.
5. Who else condemned the incident?
The incident was condemned by state media and legislators in mainland China, as well as Hong Kong’s executive council convenor, Regina Ip.
6. What did the Chinese state media tabloid, the Global Times, say about Messi’s injury explanation?
The Global Times dismissed Messi’s injury explanation as unconvincing and emphasized that the impact of the incident goes beyond sports.
7. Did Tatler Asia apologize for the disappointment caused?
Yes, Tatler Asia issued an apology and expressed remorse for the disappointment caused by the match.
8. Why were there concerns about Inter Miami’s participation in the match?
Critics were concerned about Inter Miami’s participation due to the deteriorating human rights situation in Hong Kong.
9. How many complaints did the consumer council receive related to the match?
The consumer council received a staggering 1,178 complaints related to the match.
10. What decision did Tatler Asia make in response to the complaints?
Tatler Asia made the difficult decision to offer partial refunds to ticket-holders, resulting in a loss of $43 million HKD and the withdrawal of a government grant.