When news first broke that Singapore would be playing the Argentinian national team in a friendly, football fans here were primarily concerned with whether Lionel Messi would be playing.
There were repeated assurances that he would be. Because of this, my friends and I bought tickets of $150 each for the game.
Hence, it is extremely vexing to find out that Messi would not take part in the game.
The terse statement from the organiser that it "(shared) the disappointment of football fans in Singapore and elsewhere at the absence of these players (Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Nicolas Otamendi)" rings hollow (Football: Fans welcome Argentina football team, Messi spotted on transit; ST Online, June 10).
Messi is a five-time World Player of the Year. He is widely regarded as one of the best footballers of all time.
Any claim suggesting that he is just another member of the Argentina squad, and is not the main reason people would be willing to pay high prices for a ticket to a friendly game cannot but be disingenuous.
Promoting the match using his undisputed star-draw, then belatedly and limply attributing his absence to "personal reasons", without even a cursory attempt at an explanation, displays an alarming lack of integrity and competence, and a blatant disrespect for football fans on the part of the organisers.
It has been widely reported that Messi was preparing for his wedding at the end of this month. Surely a responsible organiser would have scrupulously confirmed if he would be part of the game.
If such a confirmation was not forthcoming, then the uncertainty of his participation should have been made clearer from the off.
Mohamad Farid Harunal Rashid