Fans boo David Beckham and demand refund after Lionel Messi sits out Hong Kong game

Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham was booed by angry fans Credit: AP

Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham was booed and angry fans chanted for a refund after Lionel Messi did not play in a pre-season friendly in Hong Kong.

Messi, who has been suffering with a hamstring injury, was left on the bench as his side beat a Hong Kong XI 4-1.

In footage posted on social media, fans could be heard chanting “refund” before a post-match speech from Beckham was greeted with boos.

The Hong Kong government said match organisers Tatler Asia could face a reduction in funding.

Inter Miami's Lionel Messi, center, looks on after the first half of the friendly football match between Hong Kong Team Credit: AP

“The Government today expressed deep disappointment over Messi not playing at Tatler XFEST Hong Kong, Hong Kong Team vs Inter Miami CF, and the organiser failing to provide a detailed explanation promptly,” the government said in a statement.

“The event has been awarded “M” Mark status, as well as a matching grant of 15 million [Hong Kong dollars; £1.5m] and a grant for venue of 1 million by The Major Sports Events Committee (MSEC).

“The Government has also provided a variety of coordination and assistance, including venue arrangement and crowd management, in order to offer football fans a wonderful game and an opportunity to witness the world-class player showcasing his skills.

“Many Hong Kong fans looked forward to the match with enthusiasm, and a lot of tourists came to Hong Kong particularly for the match.

Inter Miami's co-owner David Beckham hugs a fan on the pitch after the friendly football match between Hong Kong Team and US Inter Miami CF. Credit: AP

“The Government, as well as all football fans, are extremely disappointed that Messi could neither play in the friendly match, nor explain to the fans in person upon request.

“The way that the organiser and Inter Miami CF handled the situation could not meet the expectations of the fans who showed strong support to Messi, especially those visitors who came all the way here for the match.

“The Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau and the MSEC will rely on the terms and conditions of the agreement in requiring the organiser to take responsibility, including a reduction of the amount of funding as a result of Messi being not able to play in the match.”

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...