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SPORTS | 23-07-2019 17:20

CONMEBOL strips 'Chiqui' Tapia from seat on FIFA council

Region's governing body strips AFA chief of FIFA responsibilities, after stinging criticism in wake of Copa América disappointment.

CONMEBOL, South American football's governing body, has stripped the head of the Argentine Football Association (AFA), Claudio 'Chiqui' Tapia, from his seat on the decision-making FIFA council, after his fiercely critical remarks about bias in this summer's Copa América tournament.

Tapia became an interim replacement on the 37-member FIFA council in October 2018. However, CONMEBOL announced Tuesday there will be an election to fill the Argentine's position.

The body said it had decided  "to withdraw with immediate effect, the confidence of Mr. Claudio Tapia to exercise the interim representation of CONMEBOL before the FIFA Council."

The AFA chief strongly criticised CONMEBOL in an open letter published July 3 during the Copa América in Brazil, in which Tapia requested the resignation of Wilson Seneme and Héctor Baldassi, the heads of the tournament's referees commission. 

Tapia alleged Argentina had been "clearly harmed" by refereeing at the Copa América and attacked the poor quality of pitches at matches, after the Albiceleste was eliminated 2-0 by hosts and arch-rivals Brazil in the semi-finals.

Tapia's complaints were echoed by Argentina captain Lionel Messi, who alleged there was corruption in the tournament and that it had been set up for Brazil.

The Albiceleste complained that the referee for the crunch clash, Ecuadorean Roddy Zambrano, did not consult VAR over two controversial decisions involving Sergio Agüero and Nicolás Otamendi that could have resulted in penalties.

Messi later apologised to CONMEBOL for his comments, though the body has not yet decided if he will be punished for his comments, or for the red card he received in the third-place play-off match against Chile.

Tapia appeared before CONMEBOL's Ethics Committee in Asunción earlier Tuesday, in which he reiterated his criticisms. The governing body's authorities decided to respond strongly.

- TIMES/AP/PERFIL

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