Messi gets WC qualifier ban for Copa red card

Argentina captain Lionel Messi has received a one-game suspension from World Cup qualifying after a controversial red card at this summer's Copa America in Brazil.

The Barcelona star was also handed a $1,500 fine for criticising the tournament's refereeing and the quality of the pitches. Argentina were eliminated 2-0 by the hosts and eventual champions in the semifinals.

Messi was given the red card in the third-place match after bumping chests with Chile's Gary Medel, which triggered the automatic one-match ban.

Messi later apologised for his statements, but South American football body, CONMEBOL, upheld the ban on Tuesday and added the fine.

South American qualifying for the World Cup starts in March.

In addition to Messi's punishment, CONMEBOL removed Argentina Football Association chief Claudio Tapia from his seat on the decision-making FIFA council. Tapia criticised CONMEBOL in an open letter published July 3, echoing many of Messi's sentiments.

Tapia became an interim replacement on the 37-member FIFA council in October 2018. CONMEBOL added that there will be an election to fill the Argentine's position.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.