Conmebol strips Tapia of FIFA Council seat after he criticises Copa America refs

July 24 – Argentine Football Association (AFA) president Claudio Tapia (pictured) has been stripped by Conmebol of his place on the FIFA Council following criticism of this year’s Copa America in Brazil.

Like Lionel Messi, Tapia claimed that Argentina’s hopes were dashed by biased refereeing decisions during their 2-0 semi-final loss to the host nation and arch-rivals in Belo Horizonte on July 2.

“Given the seriousness of the comments publicly used by Mr Tapia, considering the importance of his position, Conmebol has decided to withdraw with immediate effect its confidence in Claudio Tapia, thereby temporarily reducing Conmebol’s representation to FIFA,” the Paraguay-based body said.

It added that an election would be held in the coming weeks to replace the 51-year-old, without providing details.

Tapia, who became an interim replacement on the 37-member FIFA council in October 2018, said Argentina was “clearly harmed” by the Copa America refereeing and the poor quality of the pitches.

Pointing the finger at Conmebol’s Brazilian refereeing director Wilson Seneme, he complained of “serious and gross refereeing mistakes” .

Argentina felt they were denied two clear penalties in the semi-final defeat, complaining that Ecuadorian referee Roddy Zambrano had refused to consult VAR to check the validity of their claims.

Tapia alleged 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.

Tapia had only been on the FIFA Council since October, taking over from Wilmar Valdez after the latter was removed amid ongoing bribery allegations. It leaves Conmebol with four members on the all-important ruling body, down from five.

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