The Argentina Football Federation (AFA) has reportedly asked CONMEBOL, the football governing body in South America, to take back the red card which Argentine football star Lionel Messi was given during the Argentina-Chile clash for the third place earlier in July.
It is to be noted here that Lionel Messi was shown the red card post his tackle with Gary Medel in the Copa America match for the third place finish between Argentina and Chile on 6 July.
Interestingly, this was only the second instance of Messi getting a red card and the first since his debut match for Argentina way back in 2005.
Leo seemed to nudge Medel for a challenge for the ball in the first half of the match. However, in the process, the Chilean aggressively pushed Messi many times.
While the confrontation between the two was on, the referee showed the red card to Lionel. Many experts and fans believe that Messi should not have been given the red card since he was spotted with his arms up in the air for the entire duration of the confrontation.
One of the greats of the game, Messi later went on to boycott the medal ceremony after Argentina finished third.
Post the match, Messi accused CONMEBOL of “fixing” the tournament for Brazil. He also accused the governing body of football in South America of corruption.
The red card incident also assumes significance because Messi had criticised the refereeing standards just before the match.
As per the latest reports in La Nacion, the Football Federation in Argentina have sent an official letter to CONMEBOL urging the board to overturn the referee’s judgment of awarding Messi the red card.
The reports also suggest that the letter is signed by the Argentina captain Messi himself and states that he did not deserve such harsh punishment and perhaps a yellow card would have been sufficient given the nature and the gravity of the incident.
It is worth noting here that if the red card is retained, Messi may face a minimum punishment of one-match ban.
CONMEBOL have not yet given their decision on Messi’s comments made on refereeing and his accusations. It is widely reported that he may well receive a two-year ban. However, it remains to be seen if Messi is indeed banned from International football for a couple of years.
The Barcelona star will feature for his club match against Chelsea in a pre-season friendly match on 23 July.