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Messi facing two-year ban over

Messi could be hit with two-year ban for accusing CONMEBOL of corruption

July 8, 2019 By Ali M.
The Argentine has gone public with scathing criticism of the Copa America organizers but could be punished heavily for it.

Could Lionel Messi, the most popular people from South America, be handed a two-year international ban by CONMEBOL? As pointed out by AS, this is a possibility due to the organization's rules which prohibit insulting in any means or manner CONMEBOL, its institutions or personnel.

The Spanish news outlet writes that the Argentine icon could face severe repercussions for his verbal attacks on the organization, its recent Copa America tournament, and the refereeing. The five-time Ballon d'Or was not happy with the officiating toward the end of La Albiceleste's title campaign, which was brought to an end by Brazil in the semi-final, and went on two outstanding outbursts.

First, Leo tore apart the match officials after their semi-final defeat to the Selecao, accusing the referees of favoring the hosts. The 32-year-old pointed to incidents involving Aguero and Otamendi which he believes warranted two penalties. None were given.

“The officiating was crazy. There were clear penalties, on Nicolas Otamendi, on Sergio Agüero," were Messi's words after the 2-0 defeat.

“He [the referee] was on their side. In every divided ball or dispute, he inclined the pitch their way. It’s not an excuse, but the truth is that, in this Copa, they kept on blowing for stupid things, for handballs, penalties. But today, they didn’t even go to VAR when there were clear plays that should have been looked at.”

In the third-place playoff, the Barcelona legend was shown a straight red card over a bust-up with Medel, who was also sent off, a decision which was widely blasted. Scaloni's side went on to win that game 2-1 but Leo was a no-show when the bronze medals were being issued, with the player later doubling down on his criticism of CONMEBOL and claiming his absence was in protest of "corruption".

"We don't need to be part of the corruption that we've suffered at this tournament. We don't need to be part of the lack of respect we've suffered during this Copa América. We could have gone further, but they didn't let us be in the final," Messi said in the mixed zone after the win over Chile.

He later added: "The Copa is set up for Brazil, hopefully, the referees and the VAR won't influence things and they let Peru compete, but I think that's unlikely."

The Argentine also hinted that his sending off might have been "ordered [from above]" as punishment for his criticism of the tournament, but the real penalty could be on its way. Breaching of the aforementioned regulations which prohibit insulting CONMEBOL comes with a possible two-year ban.

And should the organization carry out this hefty punishment, this would mean no Messi for next year's Copa America and the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. Given that without their talisman, they nearly missed out on a ticket to Russia 2018, this will be a huge worry for the two-time champions.

CONMEBOL have condemned the attacker over his comments but whether they will slap him with a two-year international ban is unlikely. While he will probably not go unpunished for his scathing attack, it's doubtful that the continent's most popular player will be prevented from participating in the continental tournament.

 

 

 


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