Argentina to appeal Messi ban

The Argentine Football Association will appeal the ban handed to Lionel Messi for abusing an assistant referee, that has seen him suspended for four games.

The Barcelona forward was suspended after verbally abusing the official in the recent World Cup qualifier against Chile.

The incident was not spotted by the referee, with FIFA taking retrospective action.

Messi was forced to sit out of the 2-0 loss to Bolivia on Tuesday, having scored the only goal in the 1-0 win over Chile.

He will now also miss international matches against Uruguay, Venezuela and Peru.

A statement from FIFA read: "Footballer Lionel Messi has been found guilty of violating article 57 of the FIFA disciplinary code for having directed insulting words at an assistant referee.

"As a result, Lionel Messi will be suspended for four official matches and sanctioned with a fine of CHF 10,000 (£8,100)."

Argentina team secretary Jorge Miadosqui has confirmed that the AFA will appeal the ban.

He said: "The federation will appeal as it should. We feel powerless, surprised. I'm angry, Messi is sad, like us. He could have played, he travelled to play [against Bolivia], he should have played."

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