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Messi's no-show at Vancouver Whitecaps game leads to petition for ticket refund

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Hundreds of frustrated fans have signed a petition calling for tickets to be refunded after Lionel Messi didn't play the Vancouver Whitecaps over the weekend.

The online petition began collecting signatures after Inter Miami announced it would be heading to Vancouver without the Argentine superstar, nor teammates Luis Suárez and Sergio Busquets. The Whitecaps were expecting the largest crowd since the team joined MLS, with a confirmed attendance of 51,035 on Saturday.

As of Tuesday morning, more than 1,300 people had signed the Change.org petition, saying using the players in promotional materials was "misleading."

"These world-renowned players' faces have been used in promotions since the schedule announcement, leading to increased ticket demand and premium pricing," the petition says.

Those who signed the petition are requesting a refund or "substantial partial refund to reflect the actual value of the game without these players." It also calls for fair pricing on future matches.

"If the presence of star players cannot be guaranteed, prices should remain similar to typical rates," the petition says. "We believe these steps are necessary to maintain the trust and loyalty of your fan base. The current situation is not acceptable, and changes must be made to ensure fairness and transparency for all Whitecaps supporters."

So far, ticketholders have been offered a free ticket to a future regular season match and food and drinks were discounted at the stadium on Saturday. The complimentary ticket will be for the 2024 season. The way the MLS schedule is currently set up, the earliest Miami could visit Vancouver again during the regular season would be in 2026.

Even without the World Cup-winning superstar, Miami cruised to a 2-1 victory over the slumping Whitecaps in Vancouver.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Ian Holliday 

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