12 May 2022 | 08:42 | Football
Australia’s Victorian sport minister reacted with anger on Thursday after Lionel Messi’s Argentina pulled out of a highly-anticipated June 11 friendly against rivals Brazil in Melbourne.
Event organizers said they had been told Argentina was not prepared to travel to Australia for the match “contrary to their prior agreement and commitment”.
Ticket holders for the clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which takes place just five months before the World Cup, will be eligible for a refund, the advertiser said.
“We’re pretty frustrated and I think it’s fair to say it’s pretty frustrating,” Victoria’s sports minister Martin Pakula said.
“I think they owe the Australian football fans an explanation because they didn’t give an acceptable explanation to the promoter,” he added.
“It’s a game that’s going to be very popular in Melbourne.”
Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria.
In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s national team coordinator Juninho Paulista said the cancellation of the friendly had “greatly affected our preparations” for the World Cup.
Brazil wants to find an alternative game in time for June, the penultimate match allowed by FIFA before the World Cup begins on November 21.