Messi gets four-match ban

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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

AFP PIC

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.

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