Lionel Messi: Fifa lift four-game suspension for abusing official

Lionel Messi’s four-game ban for abusing a match official has been overturned, FIFA has announced.

The Barcelona front man was initially suspended following comments made to an assistant referee during his nation’s 1-0 win over Chile in World Cup qualifying.

In addition to the suspension, the Barcelona forward was fined 10,000 Swiss Francs (£8,111) after being reported to world football’s governing body for a foul-mouthed outburst at an assistant referee.

A statement from FIFA read: “The FIFA appeal committee has upheld the appeal lodged by the Argentinian Football Association, on behalf of the player Lionel Messi, against the decision taken by the FIFA disciplinary committee, lifting the sanctions imposed on him as a result.”

Messi missed the 2-0 defeat to Bolivia as a result of his suspension – but will now be available for the next international break.

Argentina are at risk of missing out on a place in the World Cup finals in Russia next summer, but their qualification hopes have now taken a massive boost.

Messi will play in the upcoming fixtures against Uruguay, Venezuela and Peru.
The 29-year-old was suspended after becoming enraged by a decision given by official Dewson Silva during the first half, and was caught on camera verbally abusing the official, reportedly declaring: “f*** off, the c*** of your mother.”

It continued as the official joined the rest of the officiating team in the centre of the field at the end of the game.

Messi was again in discussion with the officials and actively avoided shaking the hand of Silva.

Brazilian referee Sandro Ricci subsequently pointed Messi towards the tunnel as the five-time Ballon d’Or turned shaking his head at the assistant.

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