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Messi faces FIFA ban for alleged verbal abuse of assistant referee

FIFA on Tuesday notified the Argentina Football Association (AFA) that it has opened an investigation into star forward Lionel Messi’s attitude during the 2018 World Cup qualifier against Chile on Friday.

As stated in the FIFA statement, Messi may have used obscene language against one of the assistant referees; however, this incident was not recorded in the report of the match official who oversaw the game against Chile on Friday, reports Efe.

FIFA also asked the AFA to provide additional information from all referees in relation to the incident.

First assistant, Emerson Augusto do Carvalho, said that Messi, who was close to him, complained about a foul signalled against Argentina, and said something he could not make out but believes it was an insult.

FIFA said that its disciplinary committee could sanction the player and asked the AFA and Messi to deliver their testimonies on the incident.

Messi is expected to play on Tuesday night with Argentina against Bolivia, also in a World Cup qualifying match.

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