Barcelona (AFP) – Lionel Messi’s four-match international ban for swearing at an assistant referee was “unfair and totally disproportionate”, his Spanish club Barcelona said Wednesday.
“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,” Barca said in a statement.
“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.”
FIFA suspended Messi for four of Argentina’s five remaining World Cup qualification matches after he was caught swearing at an official in the victory over Chile last week.
Spain’s La Liga president Javier Tebas told a press conference in Madrid on Wednesday he felt the sanction was heavy-handed.
“You have to put it into context, in an important World Cup qualifier a player can get overheated,” Tebas said, although admitting he was unaware of what Messi had said to the official.
“It seems exaggerated to me, a one match ban or a heavy fine would have been more appropriate,” he suggested.
The FIFA announcement fell just hours before Messi was due to captain Argentina against Bolivia late Tuesday. Argentina went on to lose 2-0 to the Bolivians to deal a fresh blow to their 2018 World Cup qualification campaign.
Messi will also miss Argentina’s qualifiers in Uruguay on August 31, at home to Venezuela on September 5 and against Peru on October 5.
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $35/mo. for Sling Blue
- Watch Premier League, World Cup & MLS
- Includes USA, NBC, FOX, FS1 + more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Where to find AC Milan vs. Udinese on US TV
- Where to find PSG vs. Montpellier on US TV
- Where to find Brentford vs. Manchester United on US TV
- Where to find Barcelona vs. Rayo Vallecano on US TV
- Where to find Southampton vs. Leeds on US TV
- Where to find Arsenal vs. Leicester City on US TV
- Where to find Aston Villa vs. Everton on US TV
- ‘Game-changer’ Bynoe-Gittens propels Dortmund to comeback win over Freiburg
- Osasuna stun Sevilla in Liga opener
- Ismaily strikes late to rescue Ligue 1 draw for Lille