Lionel Messi will miss first 2022 World Cup qualifying match after being handed one-game ban and £1,200 fine for red card against Chile… but the Barcelona man has not been punished for his CONMEBOL ‘corruption’ rant
- Lionel Messi has been handed a one-match ban for his red card against Chile
- The Barcelona star was also fined £1,200 for clashing with Chile’s Gary Medel
- The 32-year-old was furious by the sending off and called CONMEBOL ‘corrupt’
- However, the South American governing body have not punished him for his rant
- Messi will now miss Argentina’s first qualifying match for the 2022 World Cup
Argentina captain Lionel Messi has been banned for one game and fined £1,200 after being sent off against Chile in the Copa America third-place playoff and levelling accusations of ‘corruption’ at South American soccer chiefs.
Messi was shown the red card after clashing with Gary Medel and afterwards alleged that the tournament had been fixed in favour of the hosts Brazil, who beat Argentina in a controversial semi-final on their way to claiming the title.
Messi called the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) ‘corrupt’ and did not attend the ceremony to pick up his medal.
Lionel Messi has been handed a one-match ban for his red card against Chila in Copa America
Messi and Gary Medel (red kit) clashed as the defender shepherded the ball out of play
It was the second red card of Messi’s career, the first coming on his Argentina debut in 2005
Medel (right) was the aggressor but both he and Messi (left) were sent off for the incident
The Barcelona player said: ‘There is no doubt, the whole thing is set up for Brazil.
‘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.
Messi protested his innocence but his game was cut short in the first half of the match
Messi walks back to the dressing room after being sent off during the third place play-off
‘I always tell the truth and I’m honest, that is what keeps me calm if what I say has repercussions that is not my business.’
The comments came after Messi refused to collect his bronze medal following the contentious red card.
CONMEBOL said on Tuesday that Messi’s comments were ‘unacceptable’ but backed down from imposing a tougher sanction on the five-times world player of the year.
Messi questioned the integrity of the competition that he labelled ‘corrupt’
Messi did not return to the field to pick up his bronze medal after Argentina’s 2-1 win
The ban is expected to be served in Argentina’s first qualifier for the 2022 World Cup.
In another Argentina-related decision on Tuesday, CONMEBOL removed the head of the Argentine Football Association’s Claudio Tapia as their official representative at FIFA.
Tapia also sharply criticised CONMEBOL during and after the Copa America.