Argentina and FC Barcelona forward, Lionel Messi has been handed a four-game ban by FIFA for verbally abusing a match official.
The Barca star scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot to hand his nation a 1-0 win over Chile in a 2018 World Cup qualifier.
However, Images showed the 29-year-old reacting to the assistant in an angry manner, after he was flagged for fouling an opponent late in the encounter.
A statement from FIFA read: The FIFA Disciplinary Committee – in application of articles 77 a) and 108 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC) – has reached a decision in relation to the case of Lionel Messi following an incident that occurred during the match between Argentina and Chile on 23 March 2017 as part of the qualifying competition for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™:
Lionel Messi has been found guilty of violating art. 57 of the FDC for having directed insulting words at an assistant referee.
As a result, Messi will be suspended for four official matches and sanctioned with a fine of CHF 10,000. The first match for which the sanction will apply is the next fixture in the preliminary competition of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ between Bolivia and Argentina, which will be played today, 28 March. The remainder of the sanction will be served over Argentina’s subsequent FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.
This decision is in line with the FIFA Disciplinary Committee’s previous rulings in similar cases.
Both the player and the Argentinian Football Association have been informed of the decision today.