Messi gets four-match ban
ZURICH: Barcelona star Lionel Messi was suspended for four Argentina matches by Fifa yesterdasy for swearing at an assistant referee, a decision the Argentinian federation said had left him feeling “sad.”
Messi was found guilty of “having directed insulting words at an assistant referee” in the World Cup qualifier against Chile last Thursday which Argentina won 10 thanks to a penalty from the Barcelona hitman.
Messi missed Argentina’s American qualifying game against Bolivia late yesterday, with the remainder of the suspension served over his country’s subsequent World Cup qualifiers.
He was also fined €9,350 (RM45,000) with Fifa saying: “This decision is in line with the Fifa Disciplinary Committee’s previous rulings in similar cases.”
Argentina team secretary Jorge Miadosqui, speaking from the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz, immediately confirmed that the federation would appeal the ban.
“The federation will appeal as it should,” he said, noting that Messi had not been warned or sanctioned by the referee of the Chile match at the time of the outburst, and nothing had been mentioned in the referee’s match report.
“We feel powerless, surprised,” added Miadosqui, noting that the ban came just hours ahead of the match with Bolivia.
“I’m angry, Messi is sad, like us. He could have played, he travelled to play, he should have played.”
Argentina have won five of their six World Cup 2018 qualifiers with Messi but only one of seven without the superstar. AFP
Argentina’s Lionel Messi argues with assistant referee Marcelo Vangasse (second from left) in their World Cup qualifier against Chile in Buenos Aires on Thursday.