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Chinese Fans To Pay Premium Prices for Messi-Led Argentina-Australia Rematch

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BEIJING, China – Chinese football enthusiasts may have to pay up to $680 to watch Lionel Messi, the world-renowned footballer, lead Argentina against Australia in a friendly match in Beijing, according to the event organisers on Friday, June 2, 2023.

The match, scheduled for June 15 at the 68,000-capacity Workers’ Stadium, is a rematch of the last-16 tie between Argentina and Australia in the Qatar World Cup.

Messi, who is expected to depart from Paris Saint-Germain this summer, scored a crucial goal in a 2-1 victory for Argentina in that match, leading his team to ultimately win the World Cup.

Tickets, priced from 580 yuan ($82) to 4,800 yuan, will be released in two batches on June 5, 2023, and June 8, 2023.

However, the high ticket prices for this exhibition game were met with disgruntlement from fans online.

“I’m reporting you for robbery,” commented a user on the Weibo platform, China’s equivalent to Twitter, on the organisers’ official account.

Another user wrote, “For 4,800, will Messi carry us on his back while he plays?”

This match marks Messi’s first visit to China since 2017. In an effort to prevent ticket scalping, strict measures are being imposed.

Prospective spectators will need to provide identification information and present ID cards or passports to enter the stadium.

Nevertheless, merchants on China’s popular e-commerce platform, Taobao, have already started offering booking services for the match tickets.

One seller was found charging 18,000 yuan for claimed access to VIP seats.

This football friendly comes as international sports events slowly return to China after the easing of stringent virus curbs late last year.

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