SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile defender Gonzalo Jara will miss the rest of the Copa America after being suspended for three matches on Sunday for sticking his finger up an opponent’s backside and feigning injury during a match.
CONMEBOL, the governing body of South American football, said in a statement it was suspending Jara for “unsporting behaviour”. It also fined the Chilean FA $7,500.
Jara will miss Chile’s semi-final clash with Peru on Monday and, depending on the result of that match, either the final or third-place playoff.
He will also be ineligible for Chile’s opening match of thequalifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup.
Television images from Chile’s quarter-final against Uruguayshowed Jara grabbing the backside of Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani and sticking his finger up it.
Cavani responded by gently pushing Jara away but the Chilean fell to the ground as if he had been punched.
The referee booked both players. It was Cavani’s second yellow card and he was sent off.
Jara’s gesture was the main talking point from the match and has been dubbed “the finger of God” in Chile, an echo of Argentina captain Diego Maradona’s infamous “hand of God” goal from the 1986 World Cup.
Uruguay had a second player dismissed in the closing stages of the match, prompting a fracas involving most of the players on the pitch, the coaching staff, the match officials and even a touchline cameraman.
Both teams lodged complaints with CONMEBOL.
Speaking shortly before the verdict was made public, Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli said the handling of the case set a dangerous precedent.
“If we’re going to start lodging complaints that don’t have anything to do with the referee’s match report it’s going to get very complicated because we are going to have different analyses after every match,” he told a news conference.
“We’re going to have to be clear from now on that everyone will be judged in the same way, because if this is a precedent and leads to a suspension on the basis of a post-match complaint, everyone’s going to start doing it.”
Uruguay’s FA welcomed the verdict and said it would work to defend its seven national team players accused by Chile of aggressive behaviour towards them and the match officials.
CONMEBOL will deal with that complaint after the Copa.
Additional reporting by Malena Castaldi in Montevideo; Editing by Ken Ferris