Argentine captain Lionel Messi has been handed a three-month international ban and a fine of $50,000 for claiming that the Copa America was corrupt. The 32--year-old Barcelona superstar was sent off in the third-place win over Chile, following Argentina’s defeat to eventual winners Brazil.
Argentina captain Lionel Messi has been banned from playing international football for three months after his comments about a corrupt Copa America. The Barcelona star will also be fined $50,000 by CONMEBOL for his controversial comments during the Copa America and will now miss friendlies against Chile, Mexico and Germany.
He’ll miss one World Cup qualifying match for his red-card in the third-place playoffs for the Copa last month. The 32-year-old was sent after an altercation with Chile's Gary Medel and subsequently went on to say it was corrupt in favour of eventual winners Brazil.
"I hope the VAR and referees don't play any part in the final and that Peru can compete but it looks tough to me. I did not want to be part of this corruption, we shouldn't have to be part of this disrespect we suffered during the Copa America. We could have gone further but we weren't allowed into the final. Corruption, referees and all the rest stopped people from enjoying the football,” he concluded.
The CONMEBOL released a statement following Messi’s comments, which said “It's unacceptable that because of incidents proper to the competitions, where 12 nations competed in, all in equal condition, there have been unfounded accusations that misrepresent the truth and put to judgement the integrity of Copa America.
Said accusations represent a lack of respect for the competition, all the football players involved and the hundreds of professionals of CONMEBOL, an institution that since 2016 has been tirelessly working to professionalise and develop South American football."