May 5, 2017 / 1:38 PM / in a year

FIFA appeal committee lifts Messi suspension

ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA’s Appeal Committee has lifted a four-match international ban imposed on Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi for insulting an assistant referee.

Football Soccer - Argentina v Chile - World Cup 2018 Qualifiers - Antonio Liberti Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina - 23/3/17 - Argentina's Lionel Messi waves. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

“Despite the fact that the FIFA Appeal Committee considered Lionel Messi’s behavior as reproachable, the former concluded that the evidence available was not sufficient to establish...(sanctions) could be applied,” the committee said in a statement on Friday.

It upheld an appeal brought by the Argentinian Football Association on behalf of the player who was suspended for insulting a match official during his country’s 1-0 win over Chile in March.

The incident was not punished during the game and the official, a Brazilian, said he not realize at the time that Messi was swearing at him.

Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi, editing by John Revill

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