The South American federation may take matters into their own hands after Messi’s outburst following his sending off against Chile.
Leo Messi accused the organisers and referees at the Copa América of “corruption” when he spoke in the mixed zone after Argentina beat Chile 2-1 to take third place in the tournament being held in Brazil.
Messi had refused to collect his third-place medal and said that “the Copa is set up for Brazil, hopefully the referees and the VAR won’t influence things and they let Peru compete, but I think that’s unlikely.”
The Argentina and Barcelona star had previously talked of “bullshit refereeing” after Argentina had been knocked out by Brazil in the semi-final, and he made reference to his comments, saying he thought it was possible that what he’d said might have influenced his sending off.
Messi facing a lengthy ban for comments
Messi’s comments could now see him face a severe punishment from CONMEBOL, whose rules prohibit insulting in any means or manner CONMEBOL, its institutions or personnel. Where the governing body do decide to take action, Messi could face a ban of up to two years, which would see him miss not just the qualification for World Cup Qatar 2022, but also the Copa América 2020 in Argentina and Colombia.
CONMEBOL were clearly stung by Messi’s comments, releasing a statement in response to Messi’s comments, in which they branded them ‘unacceptable”.
The CONMEBOL statement continued: “Said accusations represent a lack of respect for the competition, all the football players involved and the hundreds of professionals of CONMEBOL, institution that since 2016 has been tirelessly working to transparent, professionalize and develop South American football.”
What remains to be seen is if the organisation would want to ban the region’s most high profile player for a significant length of time…