The FIFA Disciplinary Committee on Tuesday reached a decision to ban Argentina captain, Lionel Messi for heaping insults on an assistant referee and will therefore miss four matches in the run up to the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
The sanction is in relation to the case of Lionel Messi following an incident that occurred during the match between Argentina and Chile on 23 March 2017 as part of the qualifying competition for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
Lionel Messi was found guilty of violating article 57 of the FDC for having directed insulting words at an assistant referee. It followed an incident towards the end of the Albiceleste’s 1-0 victory over Chile last week, when the Barcelona star scored the only goal from the penalty spot.
The 29-year-old was penalised for a foul and proceeded to wave his arms and shout insults at the referee’s assistant Marcelo van Gasse, with whom he refused to shake hands at the final whistle.
Aside the suspension, Messi was also sanctioned with a fine of CHF 10,000. The first match for which the sanction was applied was the fixture in the preliminary competition of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ between Bolivia and Argentina, which was played yesterday, 28 March. The remainder of the sanction will be served over Argentina’s subsequent FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.
This decision is in line with the FIFA Disciplinary Committee’s previous rulings in similar cases.
Both Messi and the Argentinian Football Association have been informed of the decision.