Lionel Messi has bashed the referees and pinpointed the shortcomings following their defeat against Brazil in the Semifinals.
Lionel Messi, who was aggrieved after the Chile game, accused the Federation of ‘corruption’ in this year’s edition in Brazil. He also pointed out that this edition was set up for the hosts to triumph it.
Argentina were denied a blatant penalty and a debatable penalty against Brazil in the Semifinals. Lionel Messi took matter in his hands and accused the poor officiating.
“They were not better than us. They found the net early and the second goal came from a penalty they didn’t award,” Messi said after Semifinals defeat. “The officiating was crazy. There were clear penalties, on Nicolas Otamendi, on Sergio Aguero.”
“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.”
Argentine Skipper was also sent off for an inaccurate call against Chile in the third-place game. Gary Medel got infuriated and head-butted Messi, resulting in the dismissal for both the players.
Following the game, Messi said: “Sadly, the corruption, the referees, they don’t allow people to enjoy football, they ruined it a bit.
“I think the cup is fixed for Brazil. I hope that the VAR and the referees have nothing to do in this final and that Peru can compete because they have the team to do so although I think it’s difficult.”
CONMEBOL have now released a statement of their own calling Messi’s comments “unacceptable” and that it showed his “lack of respect” for Copa America.
“In football sometimes you win and sometimes you lose and accepting the outcome of a match with loyalty and respect is a fundamental pillar of fair play. Same goes to the refereeing decisions, that are human and will never be perfect,” CONMEBOL’s statement read.
“It’s unacceptable that because of incidents proper to the competitions, where 12 Nations competed in, all in equal condition, there have been unfounded accusations that misrepresent the truth and put to judgement the integrity of Copa America. Said accusations represent a lack of respect for the competition, all the football players involved and the hundreds of professionals of CONMEBOL, institution that since 2016 has been tirelessly working to transparent, professionalize and develop South American football.”
Lionel Messi’s comments against CONMEBOL have forced the board to take action against him. It is clear that the above statement proved their intent and might even sanction him.
According to CONMEBOL rules, insulting the federation and its officials is prohibited. Article 7 of the CONMEBOL rulebook states the various sanctionable infractions, which show Messi is in trouble.
Point 2(b) of the article states, “Behaving in an offensive, insulting way or making defamatory statements of any kind” and point 2(d) mentions, “Insult in any way and by any means to CONMEBOL, its authorities, officials, etc.”, as sanctionable infractions.
Now, going by the rules, Messi is facing a ban of up to two years. The president of the Argentine Football Association (AFA), Claudio Tapia, hinted at the same in the mixed zone when he said, “I can not speak because I can be sanctioned for two years”.
Here’s how Twitter has reacted..
📰 [AS] | Messi facing possible two year ban for CONMEBOL corruption comments
🔷 The federation may take matters into their own hands after Messi’s outburst.
🔶 Messi could miss not just the qualification for World Cup 2022, but also the Copa América 2020 in Argentina. pic.twitter.com/lJr1KeExmV
— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) July 7, 2019
“These accusations represent a lack of respect for the competition, all the participating players and the hundreds of professionals of CONMEBOL”
CONMEBOL hit back as Lionel Messi cites ‘corruption’ after controversial red card https://t.co/DMiqlo6y75
— Standard Sport (@standardsport) July 7, 2019
— Mayowa of Lagos (@Wana____) July 8, 2019
If indeed Messi is handed over a two-year ban, the Argentine will be forced out to sit out for 2020 edition of the Copa America and will limit his appearances in the World Cup Qualifiers.