During the Copa America third place play-off match against Chile, Messi was handed a red card by the referee, which wasn’t taken well by the Argentina captain.
Argentina won the match and Messi refused to attend the medal ceremony in protest. When asked about the reason for his absence, he called the CONMEBOL “corrupt”
“Because we don’t have to be part of this corruption, this lack of respect towards the whole Copa. I always tell the truth. That leaves me calm.
“Then, if what I say has repercussions, it is not to do with me as I am always sincere.”
— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) August 2, 2019
These comments towards the South American football’s governing body, certainly looked like inviting some trouble and it did.
CONMEBOL released a statement saying the comments represent a “lack of respect for the competition.”
The statement from CONMEBOL read: “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.
“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, professionalise and develop South American football.”
CONMEBOL banning Lionel Messi for 3 months is quite funny. In the next 3 months Argentina will not play upto 4 International matches. #LionelMessi
— manuel okey (@OkeyManuel) August 3, 2019
The ban will see Messi miss all the Argentina matches this year, but he is free to play for Barcelona in LaLiaga which will start from 17th this month.