Messi defends charity match no-show

The Barcelona forward has responded to criticism for dropping out of a star-studded fundraising game in Los Angeles for what he cited as organisational failures
Lionel Messi has jumped to his own defence after being condemned by sponsors for pulling out of a LA charity match.

The Argentine was scheduled to join other top international footballers in a friendly encounter at the LA Coliseum on Wednesday, with proceeds going to charity.

The match was called off just 26 hours before scheduled kick-off, after Messi had elected not to participate out of concern that his foundation would not be paid by organisers.

“I am disappointed by the management of the charity match in Los Angeles. I really wanted to attend and enjoy as I did in Peru and Colombia,” he posted on his official Facebook page.

“This project is made by and for the fans, and that’s why I’m very disappointed with the organisation. A special hug to those who were going to support this cause in LA Memorial Coliseum and thank you to everyone for their support.”

Team ‘Messi and friends’ won their game on Tuesday in Lima, Peru by a score of 8-5, with the next stop in the tour coming Saturday in Chicago.