COMMEBOL have labeled Lionel Messi’s allegations of corruption at the Copa America as unacceptable and unfounded.
Argentina defeated Chile 2:1 in the third-place play-off on Saturday in a game which saw Lionel Messi and Gary Medel receive red cards and go for an early shower. This provoked the Argentine’s insinuation of corruption and lack of respect.
Lionel Messi controversially received a red card in the first half of the game after an altercation with Gary Medel. He went on to make his feelings known after the game. This was preceded by his criticisms of the officiating in his side’s semi-final loss to hosts Brazil.
However, his allegations have angered South America’s football governing body who have hit back in a statement that was released.
The statement read: “In football sometimes you win and sometimes you lose and accepting the outcome of a match with loyalty and respect is a fundamental pillar of fair play. Same goes to the refereeing decisions, that are human and will never be perfect”
“It’s unacceptable that because of incidents proper to the competitions, where 12 Nations competed in, all in equal condition, there have been unfounded accusations that misrepresent the truth and put to judgment the integrity of Copa America.”
“Said accusations represent a lack of respect for the competition, all the football players involved and the hundreds of professionals of CONMEBOL, institution that since 2016 has been tirelessly working to transparent, professionalize and develop South American football.”
Meanwhile, Gary Medel was the clear aggressor in the incident after reacting angrily to a challenge and bumping into Messi with his chest. Both players never raised hands but saw red.
Regardless, the referee on the night, Mario Diaz de Vivar, didn’t take the VAR analysis of the incident into consideration. Subsequently, when Messi was asked about his absence from the pitch during the medal ceremony, he responded:
”Because we don’t have to be part of this corruption, this lack of respect towards the whole Copa.”
Messi added: “I always tell the truth. That leaves me calm. Then, if what I say has repercussions, it is not to do with me as I am always sincere.”