Argentine forward Lionel Messi has been handed a three month ban from international football following his claims that the Copa America was “corrupt”.
The 32-year-old Barcelona star made the remarks after his national side’s 2-1 loss to Chile in the third-place play-off, in which he was sent off for a physical clash with Gary Medel.
Messi later claimed that the competition was favouring of brazil.
“We don’t have to be part of this corruption,” Messi said. “They have showed us a lack of respect throughout this tournament. Sadly, the corruption, the referees, they don’t allow people to enjoy football, they ruined it a bit. I think the cup is fixed for Brazil.”
Other than the three-month ban, Messi was also fined $50,000 by Conmebol, the South American Football Confederation.
The ban means he will miss La Albiceleste’s upcoming friendlies against Chile, Mexico and Germany in September and October.
In response to Messi’s claims, Conmebol said accusations questioning the integrity of the Copa America were “unfounded” and “represent a lack of respect”.
Argentina’s qualifying campaign for the 2022 World Cup will begin in March 2020.