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Soccer: Lionel Messi given three-month suspension after ‘corruption’ outburst

Soccer: Lionel Messi given three-month suspension after ‘corruption’ outburst: Argentina’s Lionel Messi has been banned from international matches for three months and fined $50,000 by CONMEBOL due to the accusations of “corruption” made by him at South American soccer chiefs during the Copa America. Messi was sent off against in the Copa America third-place playoff and afterward claimed that the tournament had been fixed in favour of hosts Brazil, who beat Argentina in a controversial semi-final on their way to the title.

The Argentina captain called the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) “corrupt” and did not attend the ceremony to pick up his medal. At that time, he was handed a one-match ban and a $1,500 fine for his sending off last month.

Meanwhile, CONMEBOL had said that the Barcelona forward’s comments were “unacceptable”.

On Friday, the South American body also said that it has fined the superstar in $50,000 for his comments after Argentina’s 2-1 win against Chile in the third-place playoff of the tournament in July.

The organisation said in a statement on Friday, “The player is suspended to play official and friendly matches with his national team in that period of time.”

Due to the ban, the 32-year-old will not play for Argentina matches in September against Chile and Mexico, plus another two in October versus Germany and another adversary to be picked.

However, Messi and Argentina can still appeal the decision within seven days, which stops the striker from playing in four friendlies this year.

Meanwhile, neither Messi nor Argentina’s soccer association has made comments about CONMEBOL’s decision.

Earlier, Messi had already complained against Copa Amşrica refereeing after Argentina’s 2-0 loss to Brazil in the semifinals.

When asked if he feared being suspended for his comments, he said “the truth needed to be told.” Messi later sent an apology to CONMEBOL for his remarks.

Messi is already suspended from the first match of the South American World Cup qualifiers next March because of the apparently undeserved red card he received against Chile.