Messi faces FIFA action for insults in World Cup qualifier

Messi has been fined 10,000 Swiss francs (£8,100) and will also miss World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay, Venezuela and Peru before returning for the final match against Ecuador.

The five-time FIFA World Player of the year victor will miss Argentina's World Cup qualifier against Bolivia on Tuesday, and other qualifying games against Uruguay, Venezuela and Peru.

Last Thursday, Argentina picked up a vital 1-0 win over Chile, thanks to a Messi goal of course, which pushed them into that top four.

"This decision is in line with the FIFA Disciplinary Committee's previous rulings in similar cases", said FIFA.

Messi's suspension is set to begin Tuesday when Argentina plays Bolivia in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

Match referee Sandro Ricci did not include the incident in his report but Federation Internationale de Football Association confirmed they were investigating regardless after being made aware of the footage. He waved his arms and shouted profane insults at the assistant.

Messi would later refuse to shake the official's hand after the game.

Assistant refs Marcelo van Gasse and Dewson Silva bore the brunt of Messi's frustrations and the striker now faces a four-game ban. That win took them Argentina to third but the away fixture against Bolivia is a notoriously hard one due to the high altitude.

"We are going to appeal", said Armando Perez, president of the Argentine FA's interim board. "He could have played, he travelled to play, he should have played".

Argentina not having Lionel Messi for World Cup Qualifying isn't anything new when it comes to this current cycle.

Argentina have won five of their six World Cup 2018 qualifiers with Messi but only one of seven without the superstar.

Messi won't return to global duty until Argentina's final fixture against Ecuador, by which time the damage could already be done. In a 10-country group where four teams progress automatically and another goes to the intercontinental playoffs, Argentina is looking over its shoulder at quality teams in pursuit like Colombia, Chile, Paraguay and Ecuador.

  • Julie Sanders