BUENOS AIRES – Argentina must do without superstar Lionel Messi for three months after he was given a ban and handed a 50,000-dollar fine after alleging bias in the Copa America, South American governing body CONMEBOL said Friday.
On July 6, Messi was red carded in the Copa America's third-place game against Chile in Brazil following a scuffle with Gary Medel, who was also sent off.
Following Argentina's semi-final 2-0 loss to the hosts, the Argentina captain was critical of CONMEBOL, alleging bias. He did not attend the medal ceremony as he didn't want to "take part in corruption," he told journalists.
The governing body at the time called the accusations "groundless" and "unacceptable."
The star player, who has already received a one-game ban and a 1,500-dollar fine for his Copa America red card, will have one week to challenge the ruling. Medel was also sanctioned with a one-game ban and a 1,500-dollar fine.
Argentina begin the lengthy process of qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in March. The order of the fixtures is not yet known.dpa