South America’s football governing body, CONMEBOL, has slammed Argentina captain Lionel Messi with a USD 1500 fine over his outburst about the federation’s corruption during the recently concluded COPA America.
Messi will also be serving a game suspension for the red card he received against Chile in the tournament’s third-fourth playoff match, Goal.com reported.
Messi was given his first red-card in a 14-year-long span and this decision did not go down well with the striker as he blasted CONMEBOL, saying the whole tournament was set up for Brazil’s win.
“There is no doubt, the whole thing is set up for Brazil. I hope the VAR (video assistant referee) and referees don’t play any part in the final and that Peru can compete but it looks tough to me,” Messi had said.
“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 had said.
Messi was handed red card alongside Chile’s Gary Medel in the 37th minute of the match. The video footage showed that Medel was clearly the aggressor and the decision of the referee was challenged by Messi. The Argentine striker, thereafter, walked off the field.
Messi then refused to show up on the field during the medal receiving ceremony.
Earlier in the tournament, Messi criticised the ground conditions for the competition and also questioned refereeing decisions.
Messi was also critical of the referees after the team’s 2-0 loss against Brazil in the semi-final.
“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. I think that what happened is because of what I said against Brazil,” Messi had said.
Brazil defeated Peru 3-1 in the finals on July 7 to win the Copa America 2019.