The lawmaker representing the sports sector, Kenneth Fok, said on Monday that Inter Miami showed disrespect to local football fans and Hongkongers in general after Lionel Messi sat out the team's pre-season friendly against an SAR team.
Fok said even if it's true that Messi wasn't fit to play in the match on Sunday, he could have interacted with spectators at Hong Kong Stadium in other ways.
The Argentine superstar sat on the bench throughout the game.
The American team's coach, Gerardo Martino, said afterwards that Messi had been suffering from muscle inflammation in the previous week.
But Lobo Louie, associate head of the department of health and physical education at Education University, said the player clearly didn't have an acute injury.
"You can see that he can walk around, the situation wasn't that bad that he was on crutches and couldn't get on the pitch to just greet the fans," Louie said.
"And also it's an exhibition match. If you're injured you can reach an agreement with the opposing team earlier, saying our players are injured, please be careful."
The government, which shelled out HK$16 million of public money on the event, said on Sunday that it shared Hongkongers' extreme disappointment that Messi didn't play.