Hours after LionelMessi slammed the poor officiating in the Copa America, the South American football bosses responded in equally strong manner saying that the accusations questioning the integrity of the Copa America are “unfounded” and “represent a lack of respect”.
The Argentina captain was dismissed after clashing with Gary Medel in minute 37 of the match against Chile and refused to attend the awards ceremony post-match as a protest to the woeful refereeing.
“I didn’t go because of a bit of everything,” the Barcelona forward explained.
“I think that we shouldn’t form part of this corruption, for the lack of respect they’ve shown us in this tournament.
— Araceli Crescencio (@aratells) July 7, 2019
As a response to the controversy after the third place play off, the South American Football Confederation Conmebol released a statement,which did not directly refer to Messi, saying: “A fundamental pillar of fair play is to accept the results with loyalty and respect.
“The same goes for refereeing decisions, they are human and can always improve.
“It’s unacceptable that from roots of the competition, where 12 teams compete in equal conditions, there have been unfounded accusations made that are untrue and put the integrity of the Copa America in question.
“[These accusations] represent a lack of respect to the competition, to the footballers taking part, and to the hundreds of CONMEBOL professionals who have worked since 2016 to make our organisation transparent and professional and to develop South American football.”
Brazil will take on surprise package Peru in Sunday’s final to decide the winner of 2019’s Copa America.