Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said he feels his three-match ban from CONMEBOL for arguing during his country's quarterfinal Copa America loss to Chile was "excessive" and that the Uruguay Football Federation plans to appeal.
"I accept that it was not right for me to leave the bench and have words with someone on the Chile bench, but in no moment did I insult the referee," Tabarez said in an interview on Friday on his federation's website. "The referee and the coaches know that."
CONMEBOL eventually dealt Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani a two-match ban for his reaction to Chile defender Gonzalo Jara.
Cavani was sent off in the 63rd minute of Chile's 1-0 quarterfinal victory over Uruguay after responding to provocation from Jara, who was caught by TV cameras poking at the Uruguayan's backside.
Jara, whose provocation had been missed by the officials, was subsequently punished with a three-match ban, later reduced to two games on appeal.
The bans for both Jara and Cavani ended up being exactly the same, but Uruguay will not appeal the Cavani ban and instead focus before CONMEBOL on trying to talk down the three-match ban dealt to Tabarez, who was sent off for disputing a red card dealt to Jorge Fucile in the same match.
Cavani -- who has been Uruguay's first-choice striker in the absence of the suspended Luis Suarez -- is now set to miss Uruguay's first World Cup qualifying tie against Bolivia as well as the match against Colombia.
In CONMEBOL's review of the case, the Uruguayan FA argued that he had been the victim of Jara's provocation and that it should have been spotted by the match officials.
"We think the case that we presented against the Chilean players helped reduce Cavani's sanction," Uruguay federation secretary Roberto Pastoriza said last month.
Tabarez said Uruguay faces an uphill battle in 2018 World Cup qualifying without Cavani and Suarez.
"The qualifier is going to be very, very, very difficult. We have many areas to improve, a lot. But I feel as though even with all that and being as we are, we are a tough rival to face and even tougher to defeat," Tabarez said. "So we are going to keep trying to appeal with the things we have been doing over the past nine years that we have been working with this national team."
Tabarez also said that the return of 36-year-old Diego Forlan to the Uruguay league with his boyhood club Penarol is good for the league.
"Forlan will give our league visibility in other countries," Tabarez said. "He is still playing well from a technical standpoint, he can handle the ball with both feet, he has kept in shape. He is a very professional player."