Barcelona lash out at FIFA over Lionel Messi ban

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Messi incurred the ban for berating the linesman in last week’s 1-0 win over Chile in World Cup qualification, but it was only announced hours before Tuesday’s match with Bolivia.

In his absence, Argentina went on to lose 2-0 in La Paz, putting their hopes of qualifying for next year’s tournament in jeopardy, and FCB felt the need to speak up in support of their star player.

"FC Barcelona expresses its surprise and outrage at the actions of the Office of Disciplinary Committee of FIFA to sanction the player Leo Messi after the qualifying match of the FIFA World Cup between Argentina and Chile," said an official statement.

"The club considers the sanction of four games imposed against Messi unfair and totally disproportionate.

"Finally, FC Barcelona wishes to reiterate its support for Leo Messi, an exemplary athlete, for his behaviour on and off the pitch."

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