Messi banned from top level foot­ball

World update

Fiji Sun - - Sport - Lionel Messi.

Buenos Aires: Ar­gentina cap­tain Lionel Messi has been banned from in­ter­na­tional foot­ball for three months af­ter claim­ing the Copa Amer­ica was “cor­rupt”. Barcelona for­ward Messi, 32, was sent off in Ar­gentina’s 2-1 third-place play-off win over Chile and later said the “cup was fixed for Brazil”. He has also been fined US$50,000 (FJ73.51) by Conmebol, the South Amer­i­can Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion. Messi has seven days to ap­peal Conmebol’s de­ci­sion to suspend him. The ban means Messi will miss Ar­gentina’s up­com­ing friendlies against Chile, Mex­ico and Ger­many in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber. Ar­gentina’s qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign for the 2022 World Cup be­gins in March 2020. Fol­low­ing Ar­gentina’s 2-0 semi-fi­nal de­feat by hosts Brazil, the Ar­gen­tine Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion com­plained about “se­ri­ous and gross ref­er­ee­ing errors”. In re­sponse, Conmebol said ac­cu­sa­tions ques­tion­ing the integrity of the Copa Amer­ica were “un­founded” and “rep­re­sent a lack of re­spect”.

Messi was shown a red card in the 37th minute against Chile, fol­low­ing a clash with Gary Medel, who was also dis­missed.

“We don’t have to be part of this cor­rup­tion,” Messi said. “They have showed us a lack of re­spect through­out this tour­na­ment. Sadly, the cor­rup­tion, the ref­er­ees, they don’t al­low peo­ple to en­joy foot­ball, they ru­ined it a bit.” - BBC Sport

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