MESSI HANDED FOUR MATCH BAN FOR INSULTING REFEREE

FIFA handed a four-match ban to Lionel Messi on Tuesday after ruling that the Argentina forward verbally abused a match official in a World Cup qualifying game against Chile last week.

Messi was also fined 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,160) by FIFA’s disciplinary panel. He will miss four of Argentina’s remaining five World Cup qualifiers, including the match against Bolivia on Tuesday night. He can return for Argentina’s final qualifier, away to Ecuador on Oct. 10.

Argentina lost 2-0 to Bolivia five and a half hours after the ban was announced.

The result left Argentina fourth in their South America group and they could drop out of the top four automatic qualifying spots for Russia 2018 if Chile beat Venezuela on Tuesday night, with Uruguay also in action against Peru and leaders Brazil facing Paraguay.

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