Leo Messi has been banned for four matches after Fifa received a complaint about Leo Messi’s behavior during Argentina’s World Cup qualifying match against Chile. The player has been banned for four matches, starting with tonight's match against Bolivia.
Messi banned for four games
Messi has been hit with the four game suspension after launching a foul mouthed rant against the linesman during his side’s 1-0 victory. The match referee, Sandro Ricci, initially did not mention the incident in his match report but later extended it to include Messi’s insults towards his assistant.
At the end of the encounter, Messi harangued the linesman and refused to shake his hand. Television cameras picked up some of Messi’s words, which were far from flattering.
Games Messi will miss
Pending any appeal, Messi will miss the games against Bolivia this evening, Uruguay away on 31 August, Venezuela at home on 5 September and Peru at home on 5 October. He will be back for the final qualifying game away to Ecuador on 10 October.
Text of Fifa statement:
The FIFA Disciplinary Committee – in application of articles 77 a) and 108 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC) – has reached a decision in relation to the case of Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi following an incident that occurred during the match between Argentina and Chile on 23 March 2017 as part of the qualifying competition for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™:
Footballer Lionel Messi has been found guilty of violating art. 57 of the FDC for having directed insulting words at an assistant referee.
As a result, Lionel Messi will be suspended for four official matches and sanctioned with a fine of CHF 10,000. The first match for which the sanction will apply is the next fixture in the preliminary competition of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ between Bolivia and Argentina, which will be played today, 28 March. The remainder of the sanction will be served over Argentina’s subsequent FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.
This decision is in line with the FIFA Disciplinary Committee’s previous rulings in similar cases.
Both the player and the Argentinian Football Association have been informed of the decision today.