Messi given four-match FIFA ban

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DUSHANBE, 29.03.2017. /NIAT Khovar/. Lionel Messi has been handed a four-match international ban for insulting a linesman during Argentina's 1-0 victory over Chile in Buenos Aires last Thursday, Xinhua news agency reports citing the FIFA statement.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner was also fined 10,000 US dollars by the FIFA disciplinary committee, the world football governing body said on Tuesday.

Lionel Messi has been found guilty of violating art. 57 of the FIFA disciplinary code for having directed insulting words at an assistant referee, FIFA said in a statement.

The decision ruled Messi out of Argentina's World Cup qualifier against Bolivia in La Paz on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old Barcelona forward will also sit out Argentina's qualifiers against Uruguay on August 28, Venezuela on September 5 and Peru on October 2.

He will be eligible to return for Argentina's clash with Ecuador in Quito on October 10 � the last match of the Albiceleste's qualifying campaign.

The two-time World Cup winners are currently third in the CONMEBOL South American zone standings with 22 points from 13 matches, eight points behind leaders Brazil.

The top four teams at the end of the qualifying competition will automatically progress to football's showpiece tournament in Russia next year. The fifth-ranked team will earn a play-off spot against the top side from Oceania.

Source: National information agency of Tajikistan