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HomeFootballInter Miami accused of breaching Lionel Messi's contract as payment dispute escalates

Inter Miami accused of breaching Lionel Messi’s contract as payment dispute escalates

Inter Miami have been accused of breaching a clause in a contract designed to ensure Lionel Messi featured in a friendly against Hong Kong.

The Miami Heat won 4-1 against Hong Kong, with Messi sitting on the bench for the entire game due to a leg injury.

What happened next was very embarrassing. The nearly full house of 38,323 spectators paid more than 1,000 Hong Kong dollars (approximately £100) to watch Messi play, but they shouted “refund” slogans. When the final buzzer sounded, Miami Heat owner David Beckham tried to express his gratitude to the punters, but his voice was drowned out by boos.

At a press conference, Hong Kong Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau Secretary Yang Yun-hsiung said that government officials repeatedly assured venue officials that Messi would participate in the game, but were told that he could not participate ten minutes before the end of the game due to injury.

“We ask them to take other measures immediately to remedy the situation, for example Messi should get close to the fans on the pitch and receive the trophy,” Young told France 24 in an interview.

Unfortunately, as you can see, this time it didn’t work out.

Yang added that organizers could have up to HK$16m (£1.6m) of public funds withheld.

“We have a funding agreement with Tatler Asia (the organizers) and one of the key terms is that Messi plays at least 45 minutes taking into account health and safety,” he explained.

“We have not paid yet. We will have further communication with the organizers of “Tatler Asia” in the next few weeks.

We will discuss the overall performance of the event and make decisions regarding sponsorship options.

“Tatler Asia” responded: “Although there were some news reports, “Tatler” made no mention of non-participation.”

Inter Miami has been contacted and Sports Bible asked them for their comment on Young’s comments.

Miami is scheduled to play a preseason game against Japan’s Vissel Kobe on Wednesday, but it’s uncertain whether Messi will be able to recover in time. The new Major League Soccer season will begin on February 21.



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