Lionel Messi could be banned for two years, here's why
Argentine football superstar Lionel Messi could be banned for two years from international football following his foul comments on referring during the just-concluded Copa America 2019. Messi, who was red carded against Chile during the third-place play-off clash, was infuriated following his dismissal. He had also bashed the tournament officials against Brazil and accused them of being biased. Here's more.
Messi accuses tournament officials of favoring Brazil
After Brazil drubbed Argentina 2-0 in the semi-final, Messi slammed the tournament officials, saying that the entire thing was a set up for Brazil. He also slammed the VAR and the referees. "I did not want to be part of this corruption. We shouldn't have to be part of the disrespect we suffered during the Copa America," accused Messi.
CONMEBOL unhappy with Messi's corruption claims
Following Messi's rant, CONMEBOL released an official statement, expressing its displeasure over the corruption comments made by him. The statement added that referees are humans and they would never be perfect. "In football sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, and accepting the outcome of a match with loyalty and respect is a fundamental pillar of fair play," read the statement.
"Said accusations represent a lack of respect for the competition"
"Said accusations represent a lack of respect for the competition, all the football players involved and the hundreds of professionals of CONMEBOL, institution that since 2016 has been tirelessly working to transparent, professionalize and develop South American football," the statement added.
Extreme repercussions could be in store for Messi
As evident by the CONMEBOL statement, Messi's words have not been taken kindly. Thus, chances are there could be extreme repercussions for the Argentine, as he has likely violated Article 7 of CONMEBOL rulebook. Thus, going by the rules, he could face a ban of two years. "I can not speak because I can be sanctioned for two years," said AFA President, Claudio Tapia.
Which part of Article 7 has Messi violated?
As per point 2(b) of the article, "Behaving in an offensive, insulting way or making defamatory statements of any kind", while point 2 d) states, "Insult in any way and by any means to CONMEBOL, its authorities, officials," is a punishable violation.
How will the ban affect Messi?
Going by the possible two-year ban, Messi is likely to miss 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, and also the 2020 Copa America. Also, with Messi turning 34 by the time his ban expires, his international career could be well over by then.