Wednesday, October 23, 2019 | ePaper
South America football bosses fire back at Messi jibe
South American football governing body CONMEBOL hit back at Argentine superstar Lionel Messi on Saturday after he accused the body of corruption.
Messi reacted after he was sent-off during Argentina's 2-1 victory in the third place play-off against Chile earlier in the day.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner was involved in a tangle with Chile captain Gary Medel in which Messi appeared to do nothing wrong, but both players were given their marching orders by referee Mario Diaz de Vivar.
"It's unacceptable that as a result of incidents that are a regular part of competition â€¦ unfounded and untrue accusations have been launched that call into question the integrity of the Copa America," said CONMEBOL in a statement posted on its social media accounts.
Earlier, Messi was scathing in his attack on CONMEBOL and the competition's referees after Argentina felt aggrieved for the second match running.
He even accused the governing body of favoring hosts Brazil.
"Corruption and the referees are preventing people from enjoying the football and they're ruining it a bit," said the global star.
"I think there's no doubt that Brazil are going to be champions. The Copa is weighted towards Brazil," he added.
Argentina felt they were denied two clear penalties in their 2-0 defeat to Brazil in the semi-finals, complaining that the referee for that game, Roddy Zambrano, had refused to consult VAR to check the validity of their claims.
And again Argentina were angered that Diaz de Vivar refused to consult with the video assistance to check the incident between Messi and Medel.
Messi had shoved Medel in the back as the Chile captain shepherded the ball out of play.