Argentine footballer Lionel Messi suspended for three months from the matches for his team, and also sentenced to a fine of $ 50 thousand. His disqualification will last until November 2, 2019. This decision was made by the disciplinary tribunal of the South American Confederation of Football (CONMEBALL) after loud statements by the football player about dishonest refereeing at the recent America's Cup and corruption in the ranks of the organization.
The Messi case was considered solely by the Vice-President of the Tribunal, Amarilis Belisario from Venezuela. The attacker has the right to appeal the decision of CONMEBOL for seven days, which will cost $ 3,000. Earlier, the Argentine was already disqualified for one official match for the national team and fined $ 1,500 for inappropriate behavior at the America's Cup.
Messi was found guilty of violating clauses 7.1 and 7.2 of the disciplinary regulations of CONMEBOL. The first of these states that members of the organization, clubs, players and other individuals must act with respect and strict observance of the principles of loyalty, honesty and sportsmanship. The second one prohibits participants in football competitions from behaving insultingly and engaging in slander, violating the minimum principles of acceptable behavior in sport, insulting CONMEBOL and its officials, discrediting football and CONMEBOL in particular.
The decision of the tribunal does not specify which actions and statements of the player during the America's Cup led to such a punishment. However, he did repeatedly express dissatisfaction with the organizers of the tournament and refereeing in their matches.
Messi scandal began with a semifinal game against the hosts of the Brazil national team, in which the Argentina national team was defeated with a score of 0: 2. According to the losers, they were twice denied the right to a penalty. Messi then stated that Brazil had too much influence on the outcome.
“We are tired at this tournament from strange judicial decisions. Surprisingly, the referee for the entire match has never used VAR. The judge was not fair in his decisions. I would like the South American Confederation of Football to do at least something, but this is difficult because Brazil controls everything, ”said Messi Marca.
A few days later Argentina met with Chile in the match for third place, and again Messi was in the spotlight. Although this time his team won, the player himself did not finish even before the break, as he was removed by Paraguayan referee Mario De Vivar for a rough game against Gary Medel. According to many experts and the attacker himself, he did not deserve such punishment, especially since Medel had previously broken the rules against him. After the match, Messi again criticized the judges and CONMEBOL.
“Corruption and judges did not allow people to get pleasure. Football is ruined. Corruption and judges did not allow us to reach the final. Need to tell the truth. Will Brazil win the America's Cup? There is no doubt about it. Unfortunately, I think that everything is set up for Brazil, ”added Messi, who at the same time ignored the award ceremony with bronze medals.
Later, the Argentinean, according to media reports, apologized for his words, however, CONMEBOL made it clear that they would again apply sanctions to the star footballer - after the tournament, the organization issued a statement in which it called the player’s words unacceptable and demonstrating a lack of respect. According to various information, he could face a two-year suspension, because of which he would have missed the entire qualifying tournament for the 2022 World Cup.
As a result, Messi will miss only the nearest friendly matches of the Argentina national team. He will not be able to play in September against Chile and Mexico, as well as in October against the German team. The first match of the attacker after the disqualification could be a meeting with Brazil in Saudi Arabia. In this case, the previous removal of Messi for one official game remains in force. He will miss the first round of the qualifying tournament for the World Cup 2022 for South America, which starts in March next year. The rival of the Argentina national team has not yet been determined.
Previously, Messi has never been subjected to such a lengthy disqualification in matches for the national team. Before the World Cup, he was only once removed from the field in his first match with the Hungarian team. In Barcelona, Messi never went away and did not miss the game for disciplinary reasons.