South America's football ruling body CONMEBOL has hit back at Argentine superstar Lionel Messi after he claimed that there was a lot of corruption following his dismissal on Saturday.
Argentina defeated Chile 2-1 in the third-place play-off on Saturday, but Messi railed against "corruption" and "a lack of respect" following his red card against the two-time reigning champions.
The Argentina captain's allegations angered the South American football governing body, which hit back in a statement.
"In football sometimes you win and sometimes you lose and accepting the outcome of a match with loyalty and respect is a fundamental pillar of fair play. Same goes to the refereeing decisions, that are human and will never be perfect," the statement read.
"It's unacceptable that because of incidents proper to the competitions, where 12 Nations competed in, all in equal condition, there have been unfounded accusations that misrepresent the truth and put to judgment the integrity of Copa America.
"Said accusations represent a lack of respect for the competition, all the football players involved and the hundreds of professionals of CONMEBOL, institution that since 2016 has been tirelessly working to transparent, professionalize and develop South American football."
Messi told reporters after the game: "Because we don't have to be part of this corruption, this lack of respect towards the whole Copa."
Messi added: "I always tell the truth. That leaves me calm. Then, if what I say has repercussions, it is not to do with me as I am always sincere."
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