FIFA has suspended Argentina’s Lionel Messi from four World Cup qualifying games after he insulted a referee. The incident took place in a game against Chile, and the complaint says that Lionel Messi “directed insulting words at an assistant referee.” The referee, Emerson Carvalho, filed the complaint after the game, which was a World Cup qualifier, on Thursday.
The Washington Post says that Messi will serve the first game of the suspension today when his team, Argentina plays Bolivia. Messi, the team’s all-time leading goal scorer, will also have to sit out a World Cup qualifier game in August, September, and October, but will be able to return for the game on October 10th.
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ESPN says that the verbal incident between Lionel Messi and assistant referee Emerson Carvalho started after a foul was called towards the end of Thursday’s match. After the whistle was blown, Messi was said to have shouted profane insults, and then following the game, Messi refused to shake the referee’s hand.
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The head referee, Brazilian Sandro Ricci said he did not hear the verbal attack by Messi, so it wasn’t mentioned on the official match report.
“I did not hear any offensive language from Messi or anyone else towards myself. … If I had heard any offensive word, I would have acted in according the rules of the game.”
The offensive language and bad sportsmanship was judged to deserve a red card, but the Argentine team said they would appeal the ruling
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This is happening at what is said to be the worst possible time for Argentina, as Fox Sports says that Argentina’s World Cup hopes hang in the balance. Argentina is currently third in South American World Cup qualifying, but only two points ahead of Chile. It is possible that Argentina could now full three points, which will stop them from qualifying for the World Cup. Holding onto their position without Lionel Messi will be difficult. Messi will miss games against Bolivia, Uruguay, Venezuela and Peru.
When Argentina’s Lionel Messi let loose on the assistant referee, he violated FIFA rules. The rules state that if the head referee does not see an incident and is only made aware of it after the fact or after the game, it can be retroactively added, and the player will be held responsible.
Argentina and Messi are said to be planning an appeal, which is their right, and appeals are sometimes successful, and if not completely successful, the punishment can be reduced. For example, the punishment could be for two games instead of four. But for now, Lionel Messi will have to sit out of today’s game against Bolivia.
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But a four-game suspension is making fans wonder exactly what Lionel Messi said to the ref, says Goal.com, as simply, for example, calling the ref a jerk wouldn’t get you suspended for four games. Messi is said to have used four-letter words, and insulted Emerson Carvalho’s mother.
“F**k off, your mother’s c***.”
Following the use of colorful language, Messi then refused to shake Carvalho’s hand when the game ended. Video was collected that supported the claim of the linesman, and Messi was given a suspension and a fine that was the equivalent to approximately $10k.
Do you think the punishment and suspension handed down to Argentina’s Lionel Messi will stand?
[Featured Image by Michael Regan/Getty Images]