FIFA hands Lionel Messi four-match ban for insults in WCQ vs. Chile

March 28, 2017



ZURICH — FIFA has dealt a four-match ban to Lionel Messi after ruling that the Argentina forward verbally abused a match official in a World Cup qualifying game against Chile.

Messi was dealt the ban and a fine by FIFA’s disciplinary panel. He will miss four of the Albiceleste‘s remaining five World Cup qualifiers, including the match against Bolivia on Tuesday. He can return for Argentina’s final qualifier, away to Ecuador on Oct. 10.

Messi and the Argentina federation can appeal against the ban to FIFA.

FIFA intervened when the incident was not initially reported by the Brazilian referee after Argentina beat Chile 1-0 in Buenos Aires on Thursday.

It was judged a red-card offense for Messi, who scored the only goal from a first-half penalty.

Television pictures showed Messi reacting angrily late in the game when an assistant referee flagged him for fouling an opponent. He waved his arms and shouted profane insults at the assistant.

After the game, Messi refused to shake hands with assistant referee Emerson Carvalho, who had annoyed him.

Argentina newspaper Ole published documents from the FIFA inquiry, which quote head match referee Sandro Ricci as saying that he wasn’t aware that Messi insulted any official.

“I did not hear any offensive language from Messi or anyone else towards myself, besides the normal players’ complains (specially raising their hands) [sic] during the match. If I had heard any offensive word, I would have acted in according the rules of the game”.

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