Messi suspended from Argentina's opening World Cup qualifier

In this Saturday, July 6, 2019 photo, Argentina's Lionel Messi, center left, and Chile's Gary Medel, center right, scuffle as referee Mario Diaz, from Paraguay, left, shows the red card to both of them during Copa America third-place soccer match at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

Lionel Messi was suspended from Argentina's first qualifying march for the 2022 World Cup and fined $1,500 by South American soccer's governing body

ASUNCION, Paraguay — Lionel Messi was suspended from Argentina's first qualifying march for the 2022 World Cup and fined $1,500 by South American soccer's governing body.

CONMEBOL said its decision Tuesday resulted from Messi's red card during Argentina's 2-1 win over Chile on July 6 in the third place match of the Copa America. Messi was ejected in the 37th minute after an altercation with Chile's Gary Medel, who also received a red card.

South American qualifying starts in March.

The decision does not mention Messi's attacks against the Copa America organization. Messi said there was corruption in the tournament and that the tournament was set up for Brazil to win. Messi later apologized to CONMEBOL for his comments.

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