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Messi wins appeal as FIFA wipes ban

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Argentina will have Lionel Messi
available again with immediate effect
after the remaining three matches of his
four-game suspension were wiped by
FIFA as his appeal against the sanction
succeeded.
Messi was handed the sanction after
abusing a match official during the 1-0
victory over Chile in March, ruling him
out of the 2-0 loss at Bolivia and their
next three 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
But the Barcelona forward’s
representatives were confident after
submitting their case at an appeal
hearing in Zurich on Thursday and a
FIFA statement yesterday revealed he
has been successful.
The appeal committee “considered
Messi’s behaviour as reproachable” but
found the evidence available was not
sufficient to enforce the suspension,
which the 29-year-old, Argentina and
even his club side had vociferously
opposed.
“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,” read the
statement.
“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
match suspension imposed on Lionel
Messi, which entered into force on 28
March 2017, and the fine of CHF 10,000
have been lifted.”

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