FIFA bans Lionel Messi for four World Cup qualifying matches for abusing linesman 

March 28, 2017, 10:24 pm
FIFA bans Lionel Messi  for four World Cup qualifying matches for abusing linesman 
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FIFA bans Lionel Messi  for four World Cup qualifying matches for abusing linesman 

FIFA bans Lionel Messi for four World Cup qualifying matches for abusing linesman 

FIFA suspended Barcelona star Lionel Messi for four Argentina matches on Tuesday for swearing at an assistant referee.

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 1-0 thanks to a penalty from the Barcelona hitman.

FIFA had earlier notified the Argentina Football Association (AFA) that it has opened an investigation into star forward Lionel Messi's attitude during the 2018 World Cup qualifier.

First assistant, Emerson Augusto do Carvalho, said that Messi, who was close to him, complained about a foul signalled against Argentina, and said something he could not make out but believes it was an insult.

FIFA had also said that its disciplinary committee could sanction the player and had asked the AFA and Messi to deliver their testimonies on the incident.

Messi will miss Argentina's next South American qualifying game against Bolivia, scheduled for later Tuesday, with the remainder of the suspension served over his country's subsequent World Cup qualifiers.

He was also fined 10,000 Swiss francs (9,350 euros, 10,170), FIFA saying: "This decision is in line with the FIFA Disciplinary Committee's previous rulings in similar cases."

Argentina's victory over Chile left them in third place overall in the 10-team South American qualifying competition for the World Cup with 22 points from 13 games.

The top four finishers qualify automatically for next year's finals in Russia.

With inputs from agencies