FIFA has overturned its decision to suspend Barcelona star Lionel Messi for four international matches after a successful appeal by the Argentine Football Association, world football’s governing body has announced.
A statement on the ruling reads: “The FIFA Appeal Committee has upheld the appeal lodged by the Argentinian Football Association, on behalf of the player Lionel Messi, against the decision taken by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, lifting the sanctions imposed on him as a result.”
Messi was dealt the ban for insulting an assistant referee. It was imposed when the FIFA disciplinary committee gave its ruling hours before Argentina’s 2-0 loss in Bolivia in March. The Argentina captain, 29, had already served one match of that suspension.
The statement added: “The Appeal Committee nevertheless underlines the importance of always showing respect to the match officials, stressing that such a principle is essential in football and any unsporting conduct that may be contrary to the principles of fair play cannot be accepted. In view of the above decision, the match suspension imposed on Lionel Messi, which entered into force on 28 March 2017, and the fine of CHF 10,000 have been lifted.”