Lionel Messi will play in front of a half-empty stadium the next time Argentina take in a home game, with FIFA punishing the 2022 World Cup winners.
Action has also been taken against Brazil following crowd trouble at the Marcacana prior to a 2026 World Cup qualifying game between two fierce rivals in November 2023. Both the Selecao and Albiceleste have been fined 50,000 Swiss francs for “failure to ensure that law and order are maintained”, while Argentina must also pay 20,000 Swiss francs for “lack of order or discipline in or around the stadium”.
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Fighting among supporters led to the game in question being delayed by 27 minutes, with eight-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi leading his side off the field before order was restored. When the match got underway, Argentina claimed a 1-0 win and inflicted a historic home World Cup qualifying defeat on Brazil.
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FIFA has also fined Argentina 50,000 Swiss francs as a result of misconduct by fans at two previous World Cup qualifiers, which will be “invested in a plan against discrimination”, with a suspended fine for the same amount left hanging over Lionel Scaloni’s side – which could be activated inside the next six months.
Argentina have been informed that their next home fixture, which is currently a meeting with Chile in September, will take place with “at least 50% of the available seats” taken off the market. The reigning world champions top the South American qualification table after six matches, with Brazil surprisingly languishing down in sixth.