Lionel Messi’s FIFA ban: It’s ‘unfair and disproportionate’, say Barcelona | football | Hindustan Times
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Lionel Messi’s FIFA ban: It’s ‘unfair and disproportionate’, say Barcelona

Lionel Messi was dealt the suspension and a fine of 8,104 pounds by FIFA’s disciplinary panel and is due to miss three more of Argentina’s remaining four World Cup qualifiers after sitting out Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to Bolivia.

football Updated: Mar 29, 2017 19:49 IST
Lionel Messi  argues with Brazilian first assistant referee Emerson Augusto de Carvalho during the half time of their 2018 FIFA World Cup South American qualifier football match against Chile, at the Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires, on March 23, 2017. The FIFA on March 28, 2017 suspended Messi for four Argentina games.
Lionel Messi argues with Brazilian first assistant referee Emerson Augusto de Carvalho during the half time of their 2018 FIFA World Cup South American qualifier football match against Chile, at the Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires, on March 23, 2017. The FIFA on March 28, 2017 suspended Messi for four Argentina games. (AFP)

Barcelona have condemned FIFA’s decision to impose a four-match international ban on striker Lionel Messi for verbally abusing a match official in Argentina’s World Cup qualifier against Chile last week.

Messi was dealt the suspension and a fine of 10,000 Swiss francs (8,104 pounds) by FIFA’s disciplinary panel and is due to miss three more of Argentina’s remaining four World Cup qualifiers after sitting out Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to Bolivia.

Lionel Messi heads to board a flight bound for La Paz, at the Viru Viru Airport in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, on Tuesday. (AFP)

“FC Barcelona expresses its surprise and indignation at the decision by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee to suspend Leo Messi following the FIFA World Cup qualifying fixture between Argentina and Chile,” the club said.

“The club considers the four-match suspension imposed on the Argentine player to be unfair and totally disproportionate.

“Finally, FC Barcelona wishes to reiterate its support for Leo Messi, an exemplary player in terms of conduct, both on and off the pitch.”

Lionel Messi argues with match officials in the half time of Argentina’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia South American qualifier football match against Chile in Buenos Aires, on March 23, 2017. (AFP)

The 29-year-old Messi will also miss Argentina’s games away to Uruguay and home to Venezuela and Peru. The five-times world player of the year will be eligible again when the country’s last World Cup qualifier against Ecuador on Oct. 10.

Argentina are fifth in their World Cup qualifying group, a point behind the automatic qualification spots.

The top four qualify directly for the World Cup in Russia next year and the fifth-placed side go into a playoff against a team from Oceania for another place in the global showpiece event.