Buenos Aires: The Argentine Football Association (AFA) lodged Wednesday a complaint with South American football’s governing body CONMEBOL over the ‘serious and gross refereeing errors’ in their Copa America semifinal loss to arch rivals and tournament hosts Brazil.
Lionel Messi’s side were beaten 0-2 as their wait for a first major title since 1993 was extended, Tuesday.
AFA president Claudio Tapia also criticised Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, who attended the game in Belo Horizonte and who performed ‘a clear political demonstration’ that included ‘an Olympic lap of honour around the stadium at half time’.
Tapia sent a six-page letter to CONMEBOL in support of the Argentina team and after Messi himself had expressed his anger against South American football’s governing body and the refereeing of Ecuadorian Roddy Zambrano.
Tapia said that Zambrano ‘unjustifiably omitted the use of VAR in at least two specific moves that clearly influenced the final result of the match’. And he questioned whether ‘the principles of ethics, loyalty and transparency’ had been observed during the match.
Messi had also fumed over his perceived sense of injustice claiming to have ‘grown tired of talking about the bullshit in this Copa’, adding that ‘Brazil were the hosts and they’re managing a lot in CONMEBOL these days, which makes it complicated’ for everyone else.
Tapia added that AFA had previously questioned the appointment of the refereeing team because of ‘Zambrano’s negative history’ that ‘amplified the doubt’ surrounding the match’s fairness.
Tapia seemed particularly angered by Bolsonaro’s presence. The Brazilian leader went to pitchside at half time and waved enthusiastically to fans, and at one point climbed onto advertising hoardings and waved the national flag.
Tapia pointed out to FIFA and CONMEBOL that rules that ‘prohibit… political demonstrations at a sports event’. He added that both governing bodies had in the past ‘sanctioned players for having visibly demonstrated political allegiance during matches’.
When contacted by this agency, a CONMEBOL spokesperson said they were looking at how to respond to the accusations.