Amid row over Messi’s no-show, China nixes Argentina matches

Amid a public uproar in China over Argentine soccer great Lionel Messi’s failure to play in a recent Hong Kong match, a major Chinese city has scrubbed a game scheduled for his national team.

The upcoming friendly with the Argentine squad has been canceled due to “well-known reasons,” the sports authority in the eastern city of Hangzhou said in a statement posted on its social media account Friday. Argentina had been expected to play against Nigeria. “The conditions for holding such an event” aren’t right, according to relevant departments in charge, it added, without providing further details.

On Saturday, Argentina’s friendly against Ivory Coast, scheduled to be held in Beijing in March, was also canceled, the Chinese city’s soccer association said.