It’s good news for football fans around the world, and especially to the Argentine fans for their World Cup 2018 dreams in Russia. Lionel Messi’s four international match ban from competitive matches has been lifted by FIFA, and he’ll be able to play in the remaining World Cup Qualifier matches for which he was banned earlier.
Argentina Football Association (AFA) appealed to FIFA Disciplinary Committee against the Argentina’s no.10 ban, and they successfully able to get the positive result from their appeal. Messi was banned for four matches without any conclusive evidence of his abusive word used for the assistant referee during Argentina vs Chile match.
La Albicelsete’s Captain received the news hours before he was due to play the away qualifier game against Bolivia. It was a shocking news for the football fans around the world, but AFA defended his team leader and appealed to FIFA to lift the ban. The four lawyers hired by AFA defended Messi’s argument and convinced FIFA to lift the ban on Thursday afternoon.
Although, La Pulga already missed a match due to sanction against Bolivia, which Argentina lost 2-0, but he is now free to play the remaining matches he was banned for. Leo will be able to play the qualifiers against Uruguay (31st Aug), Venezuela (5th Sept), and Peru (5th Oct).
Fifa.com reports, “Following a hearing which took place in Zurich on 4 May 2017, the Appeal Committee has set aside the decision taken by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee on 28 March 2017, which, in application of art. 77 a) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC), had found Lionel Messi guilty of infringing art. 57 of the FDC for having directed insulting words at an assistant referee.
Despite the fact that the FIFA Appeal Committee considered Lionel Messi’s behaviour as reproachable, the former concluded that the evidence available was not sufficient to establish to the appropriate standard, i.e. to the comfortable satisfaction of the members of the Appeal Committee, that art. 77 a) of the FDC, according to which the Disciplinary Committee is responsible for sanctioning serious infringements which have escaped the match officials’ attention, could be applied.
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 suspension for four matches imposed on Lionel Messi, which entered into force on 28 March 2017, and the fine of CHF 10,000 have been lifted.”