Lionel Messi has been handed a 4-match ban by FIFA for abusing officials during Argentina's 1-0 win over Chile.

What’s the story?

Argentina captain Lionel Messi has been handed a 4-match ban by FIFA for hurling abuse at the referee during La Albiceleste’s 1-0 win over Chile in the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers.

Messi scored the only goal in Argentina’s 1-0 win over Chile and his absence will be a huge blow in the South American nation’s quest for a berth at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

FIFA has found Messi guilty of violating article 57 of the FIFA disciplinary code for having directed insulting words at an assistant referee. In addition to the ban, the diminutive Argentine has also been fined CHF 10,000.

The news comes hours before Edgardo Buaza’s men take on Bolivia in another qualifier for the 2018 World Cup. The ban will see Messi sit out of 3 qualifying games for Argentina along with a friendly against Brazil. Here are the games that Messi will miss following the ban:

FixtureDateType of Match
Bolivia vs Argentina28th MarchWorld Cup qualifier
Brazil vs Argentina09th JuneFriendly
Uruguay vs ArgentinaTBDWorld Cup qualifier
Argentina vs Venezuela.TBD.World Cup qualifier

In case you didn’t know

The Argentine captain was clearly not happy with the officiating and remonstrated vocally with the referees on more than one occasion. This had made its way into the referee’s report of the match, and now FIFA has served the punishment they deemed necessary based on it. During the game, Messi was caught on camera hurling abuse at officials Marcelo Vangasse and Dewson Silva.

The heart of the matter

Argentina are currently in 3rd place in the FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifiers, one point behind second-placed Uruguay, and 7 points behind leaders Brazil. Messi’s absence will put La Albiceleste’s qualifying in jeopardy as Edgardo Buaza’s men have struggled in the absence of their talisman.


Here is the video of the incident...


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