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Fans to get refunds after Messi's exit

CHICAGO (AP) - Fans who paid $2,500 for tickets to Lionel Messi's charity game last weekend will be eligible for refunds after the star soccer player failed to show for a promised meet-and-greet after the game.

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The VIP package was to include the private session with the four-time world player of the year, on-field seating and signed memorabilia. But Messi exited the game in the 69th minute and left Soldier Field shortly after.

Numero 5, which organized the event, says the early exit wasn't Messi's fault, blaming Soldier Field security personnel. Still, the Miami-based promoter said in a statement Thursday it will reach out to any VIP package holders who didn't meet Messi ``in order to begin the process for making an appropriate refund.''

Chicago Fire owner Andrew Hauptmann has already invited the VIP fans to the July 20 game against D.C. United. In addition to tickets for the game, Hauptmann has promised a tour of Toyota Park.

The failed meet-and-greet wasn't the only problem with Messi's charity match. Fans were initially promised a roster of three dozen international stars, only to have most drop out before the game. Nine former Northwestern players had to fill out the rosters.

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