Barcelona star, Lionel Messi has been suspended for four Argentina matches by FIFA for swearing at an assistant referee.
The ban which was effective from Tuesday March 29 will see the striker miss out on decisive qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup.
Messi was found guilty of “having directed insulting words at an assistant referee” in the World Cup qualifier against Chile last Thursday which Argentina won 1-0 thanks to a penalty from the Barcelona hitman.
He was also fined 10,000 Swiss francs (9,350 euros, $10,170), with FIFA saying: “This decision is in line with the FIFA Disciplinary Committee’s previous rulings in similar cases.”
“We are going to appeal,” said Armando Perez, president of the Argentine FA’s interim board.
He acknowledged that Messi “made a mistake by insulting” the linesman, but argued that FIFA’s sanction was disproportionate.
“This is more political than anything else.”
The AFA’s national squad selection secretary Jorge Miasdoqui called the ban “a blow, and unfair”.
There are precedents that give reason to believe the sanction could be reduced. They have cut the legs off Messi and the Argentine national team.
We feel powerless, surprised.
I’m angry, Messi is sad, like us. He could have played, he travelled to play, he should have played.
Miasdoqui noted that Messi had not been warned or sanctioned by the referee of the Chile match at the time of the outburst, and nothing had been mentioned in the referee’s match report.