Lionel Messi Banned for Four Matches by FIFA

Lionel Messi has been banned for four international matches by FIFA for verbally abusing a match official in Argentina’s World Cup qualifying game against Chile last week.

The Argentine forward was also fined 10,000 Swiss Francs (£8,100) for having directed insulting words at the official.

The Argentine Football Association has said it will appeal the ban.

Messi will miss four of Argentina’s remaining five World Cup qualifiers and will be available for Argentina’s final qualifier, away to Ecuador on October 10.

A statement from FIFA said: “Footballer Lionel Messi has been found guilty of violating art: 57 of the FDC (FIFA disciplinary code) 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.”

It added that the suspension was “in line with the FIFA disciplinary committee’s previous rulings in similar cases”.

Messi was shown on television reacting angrily late in the game when assistant referee Emerson Carvalho flagged him for fouling an opponent. He waved his arms and shouted profane insults at the assistant and refused to shake hands with him after the game.

The incident was not initially reported by Brazilian referee Sandro Ricci.

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