Inter Miami Cancels China Tour Following Former Premier’s Death

The highly expected tour was canceled 'due to the death of former Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the country's No. 2 for the past decade.'Lionel Messi's soccer exhibition tour with Inter Miam FC to China has been called off, according to the club.Inter Miami FC released a statement on Nov. 1, announcing that its tour to China was canceled "due to unforeseen circumstances in China" after receiving information from the tour promoter.The promoter, Never Say Never (NSN), provided more specific details, saying the cancellation of the highly expected tour was "due to the death of former Chinese Premier Li Keqiang."Related Stories10/31/2023According to China's state media, Mr. Li, once China's No. 2, suffered a “sudden heart attack” on Oct. 26, while he was visiting Shanghai. After "all rescue measures failed," he died early on Oct. 27. He was 68.Mr. Messi and Inter Miami FC were originally scheduled to play two matches with Qingdao Hainiu FC on Nov. 5 and Chengdu Rongcheng on Nov. 8.At present, there is no information about a future replacement tour, but "Inter Miami's ambition remains to expand its global reach by playing in front of incredible fans from across the globe; the Club will continue to explore future opportunities with NSN to achieve this goal," said the club.Before the official cancellation, earlier reports suggested that the tour might risk being called off owing to some issues with promoters. The location of one of the games in China had been changed.The soccer tour to China was supposed to be the first Inter Miami international tour after winning the Leagues Cup for the first time this year. It was expected to give Mr. Messi some warm-up before he joined the Argentina team for two crucial World Cup qualifying games against Uruguay and Brazil in November.Mr. Messi, who just won the eighth Ballon d'Or on Oct. 30, the highest individual recognition in soccer, has toured China multiple times. The last time he was in the country was in June when his Argentinian team played against Australia in a friendly match. Mr. Messi also won Olympic gold with the Argentina soccer team in Beijing in 2008.Mr. Messi has played with renowned soccer clubs Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain before unexpectedly joining Inter Miami FC in July. His contract with the club extends to the 2025 Major League Soccer season, with annual compensation between $50 million and $60 million.Inter Miami FC has not announced any plans for other future international soccer tours with Mr. Messi, but such trips are expected owing to his global popularity. China's Soccer Corruption Soccer is widely popular in China, but corruption has tainted the sport there. The country has only qualified for the World Cup tournament once.Former head coach of the Chinese national football team, Li Tie, was jailed after an investigation by the Chinese Communist Party's top anti-graft watchdog in 2021. Domestic media reports indicated that his case caused over 20 football players and managers to be taken away by regulators.In February, the head of the Chinese Football Association, Chen Shuyuan, was placed under an anti-corruption probe.Chinese Super League chairman Liu Jun was also under investigation, according to Chinese financial outlet Caixin. All his five predecessors have been investigated for corruption, it said. Mr. Liu is also the 14th senior soccer official linked to the Chinese Football Association that was caught in the anti-graft purge.In 2010, many of China's sports officials, coaches, referees, and players were imprisoned over soccer fraud and taking bribes, according to the South China Morning Post. The publication cited a noted writer from Inside Chinese Soccer, saying: "In the general environment of Chinese soccer, nearly everyone takes bribes. If you don't do this, you look stupid and silly.""The corruption in soccer mirrors the general corruption problems elsewhere in China."

Inter Miami Cancels China Tour Following Former Premier’s Death

.

The highly expected tour was canceled 'due to the death of former Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the country's No. 2 for the past decade.'

Lionel Messi's soccer exhibition tour with Inter Miam FC to China has been called off, according to the club.

Inter Miami FC released a statement on Nov. 1, announcing that its tour to China was canceled "due to unforeseen circumstances in China" after receiving information from the tour promoter.

The promoter, Never Say Never (NSN), provided more specific details, saying the cancellation of the highly expected tour was "due to the death of former Chinese Premier Li Keqiang."
According to China's state media, Mr. Li, once China's No. 2, suffered a “sudden heart attack” on Oct. 26, while he was visiting Shanghai. After "all rescue measures failed," he died early on Oct. 27. He was 68.

Mr. Messi and Inter Miami FC were originally scheduled to play two matches with Qingdao Hainiu FC on Nov. 5 and Chengdu Rongcheng on Nov. 8.

At present, there is no information about a future replacement tour, but "Inter Miami's ambition remains to expand its global reach by playing in front of incredible fans from across the globe; the Club will continue to explore future opportunities with NSN to achieve this goal," said the club.

Before the official cancellation, earlier reports suggested that the tour might risk being called off owing to some issues with promoters. The location of one of the games in China had been changed.

The soccer tour to China was supposed to be the first Inter Miami international tour after winning the Leagues Cup for the first time this year. It was expected to give Mr. Messi some warm-up before he joined the Argentina team for two crucial World Cup qualifying games against Uruguay and Brazil in November.

Mr. Messi, who just won the eighth Ballon d'Or on Oct. 30, the highest individual recognition in soccer, has toured China multiple times. The last time he was in the country was in June when his Argentinian team played against Australia in a friendly match. Mr. Messi also won Olympic gold with the Argentina soccer team in Beijing in 2008.

Mr. Messi has played with renowned soccer clubs Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain before unexpectedly joining Inter Miami FC in July. His contract with the club extends to the 2025 Major League Soccer season, with annual compensation between $50 million and $60 million.

Inter Miami FC has not announced any plans for other future international soccer tours with Mr. Messi, but such trips are expected owing to his global popularity.

.

China's Soccer Corruption

Soccer is widely popular in China, but corruption has tainted the sport there. The country has only qualified for the World Cup tournament once.
Former head coach of the Chinese national football team, Li Tie, was jailed after an investigation by the Chinese Communist Party's top anti-graft watchdog in 2021. Domestic media reports indicated that his case caused over 20 football players and managers to be taken away by regulators.

In February, the head of the Chinese Football Association, Chen Shuyuan, was placed under an anti-corruption probe.

Chinese Super League chairman Liu Jun was also under investigation, according to Chinese financial outlet Caixin. All his five predecessors have been investigated for corruption, it said. Mr. Liu is also the 14th senior soccer official linked to the Chinese Football Association that was caught in the anti-graft purge.
In 2010, many of China's sports officials, coaches, referees, and players were imprisoned over soccer fraud and taking bribes, according to the South China Morning Post. The publication cited a noted writer from Inside Chinese Soccer, saying: "In the general environment of Chinese soccer, nearly everyone takes bribes. If you don't do this, you look stupid and silly."

"The corruption in soccer mirrors the general corruption problems elsewhere in China."