FC Barcelona has expressed “surprise and indignation” at FIFA’s decision to hand forward Lionel Messi a four-match international ban for verbally abusing a match official in Argentina’s World Cup qualifier against Chile last week.
Messi was suspended, with a fine of 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,160) by football governing body’s disciplinary panel and is due to miss three more of Argentina’s remaining four World Cup qualifiers after sitting out the 2-0 defeat against Bolivia on Tuesday.
According to FIFA, the Argentina captain was guilty of “having directed insulting words at an assistant referee.”
But his club, Barcelona has come out in defence of their player.
Barcelona said in the statement, “FC Barcelona expresses its surprise and indignation at the ex officio action by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee by suspending the player Leo Messi following the FIFA World Cup qualifying fixture between Argentina and Chile.
“The club considers the four-match suspension finally 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.”