Lionel Messi banned for four matches by Fifa even though officials admit not hearing his insult

An Argentinian newspaper has published a letter written by Fifa to the Argentinian Football Association (AFA) which reveals that none of the four match officials were aware of the “insulting words” which have resulted in Lionel Messi being banned for four matches.

The letter also confirms that the incident was brought to Fifa’s attention by the media.

Fifa handed a four-match ban to Messi on Tuesday after ruling that the 29-year-old had verbally abused a match official during Argentina’s 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Chile last week.

Television pictures showed him swearing at Brazilian linesman Emerson Augusto do Carvalho at the end of the match after being harried and fouled by Chilean player Jean Beausejour. The official patted him on the head and tried to calm him down but Messi kept ranting.

Fifa wrote a letter to the Argentine Football Association (AFA) explaining their decision, which has since been published by the Argentine newspaper Olé.

According to the letter, Carvalho said he did not understand at the time what Messi was saying.

The letter, published in Olé, confirms the officials did not hear what Messi said (Olé)

“I only realised he was swearing afterwards on reading the press,” he said.

“After a foul committed by Messi, who was next to me, at the end of the game, I saw that he complained against that fault by raising his hands and saying something that I did not understand at the time.”

The letter also features a statement from the match referee, Sandro Ricci, who also says he did not hear what Messi said.

“I did not hear any offensive language from Messi or anyone else towards myself, besides the normal players’ complaints (specially raising their hands) during the match,” the document quotes Ricci as saying.

“If I had heard any offensive word, I would have acted in according the rules of the game.”

The document also includes statements made by…

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