MADRID.- FIFA decided on Tuesday to impose a four-game ban against Argentina captain Lionel Messi, for using insulting language against one of the assistant referees during the 2018 World Cup qualifier against Chile.
According to a statement released by FIFA, its disciplinary committee took its decision in application of articles 77 (a) and 108 of the FIFA disciplinary code, which determined that Messi "has been found guilty of violating art. 57 of the FDC for having directed insulting words at an assistant referee."
As a result, Lionel Messi will be suspended for four official games and pay a fine of 10,000 Swiss francs.
Therefore, Messi will start his ban countdown on Tuesday when he misses the away 2018 World Cup qualifier against Bolivia, then against Uruguay, Venezuela and Peru, and will return to the Argentina squad against Ecuador.
"This decision is in line with the FIFA Disciplinary Committee's previous rulings in similar cases. Both the player and the Argentinian Football Association have been informed of the decision today," FIFA said.
Earlier in the day, FIFA notified the Argentina Football Association that it has opened an investigation into Messi's attitude during Friday's match against Chile, which ended 1-0 for Argentina.