Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has been fined €600 ($724) by the Competition Committee for taking off his shirt in a La Liga match against Osasuna in a tribute to the late Argentinian football icon Diego Maradona.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner removed his shirt after netting Barca’s fourth goal, unveiling a Newell’s Old Boys kit underneath, a club both Messi and Maradona have represented.
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He also pointed to the sky, paying respect to the football icon, whose sudden death at the age of 60 shocked the entire world.
Messi was brandished with a yellow card for his on-pitch tribute, as it violated the Spanish FA Disciplinary Code.
“The footballer who, on the occasion of having scored a goal or for any cause derived from the vicissitudes of the game, raises his shirt and displays any kind of advertising, slogan, legend, acronyms, anagrams or drawings, whatever their content or the purpose of the action, will be punished, as the author of a serious offence, with a fine of up to €3,000 and a warning,” the Code says.
Messi has been fined €600 and issued with a warning by the Competition Committee, which also fined Barcelona €350 ($423).
The club is expected to appeal the yellow card, with Barca manager Ronald Koeman insisting it should be overturned.
“We know that there is a rule [relating to the award of] the yellow card. But we also know that it was his dedication to Maradona when he took off his shirt. It’s not my decision, but for me I would take it off,” he said.