Barcelona star Lionel Messi was suspended for four Argentina matches by FIFA on Tuesday for swearing at an assistant referee, a decision the Argentinian federation said had left him feeling “sad”, according to AFP.
Messi was found guilty of “having directed insulting words at an assistant referee” in the World Cup qualifier against Chile on Thursday, which Argentina won 1-0 thanks to a penalty from the Barcelona hitman.
Messi was expected to miss Argentina’s qualifying game against Bolivia on 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), with FIFA saying, “This decision is in line with the FIFA Disciplinary Committee’s previous rulings in similar cases.”
Argentina team secretary Jorge Miadosqui, speaking from the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz, immediately confirmed that the federation would appeal the ban.
“The federation will appeal as it should,” he said, noting that Messi had not been warned or sanctioned by the referee of the Chile match at the time of the outburst, and nothing had been mentioned in the referee’s match report.