FIFA bans Lionel Messi for insulting match official
FIFA handed a four-match international ban to Lionel Messi after the Argentine forward was ruled guilty of insulting an assistant referee during a World Cup qualifier against Chile. He was also fined 10,000 Swiss francs. The ban means Messi will miss Argentina's matches against Bolivia, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Peru. Messi and the Argentine Federation can resort to appealing against the ban to FIFA.
What was the incident that led to the suspension?
The retrospective ban on Messi was slapped for abusing the assistant referee during Argentina's 1-0 win over Chile. Messi scored the lone goal on penalty. Messi was enraged when he was flagged for a foul. He was caught swearing at the assistant and refused to shake hands with the official. FIFA intervened when the incident was left unreported by the match referee.
Struggling Argentina to face trouble without their saviour?
Messi's suspension hours ahead of the team's World Cup qualifier against Bolivia is bad news. Argentina struggled in most of their World Cup qualifiers and won the last two, all thanks to Messi. It is to be seen how the team will cope without him. Four South American teams directly qualify for World Cup. Argentina currently stand third, with five matches to go.
More big names missing match against Bolivia
Argentine team will go into tonight's match against Bolivia, already challenging enough because of La Paz's high altitude, without the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Javier Mascherano, Nicolas Otamendi, and Lucas Biglia, who are all on suspension after receiving yellow cards.