Recent events have led Chinese sports officials to make the call to postpone Argentina vs. Nigeria’s friendly football match. This decision was made in response to strong criticism over Lionel Messi’s absence from an Inter Miami game in Hong Kong.
The first match has been cancelled despite being scheduled to take place in Hangzhou and be followed by a match against Ivory Coast in Beijing. The controversy surrounding Messi’s decision not to play the Hong Kong match has caused this to happen.
The situation worsened when Messi, who was expected to play, was sidelined because of an injury during the Hong Kong event, much to the surprise of fans who had paid big bucks for tickets.
The organizers gave ticket holders a 50% refund in response to the uproar. However, the situation worsened when Messi showed up on the field in the next match in Japan, increasing the backlash.
Messi made a cameo appearance against Vissel Kobe in a 0-0 draw but did not take part in the penalty shootout. As a result, Hangzhou’s sports authorities announced that the friendly match against Nigeria would not go ahead as planned.
In a statement, Hangzhou authorities said, “As a commercial event, a company and the Argentinean soccer team negotiated that the team would play a friendly match in March this year in the city of Hangzhou.”
The statement further reads, “In view of the current well-known reasons, according to the competent authorities, conditions to hold the friendly match are not mature, therefore (we) have decided to cancel it.”