FOOTBALL: Lionel Messi has been cleared to play for Argentina at the MCG in June, despite being banned from his country's next three World Cup qualifiers.
Match organisers say Messi will travel to Melbourne for the powerhouse battle against Neymar's Brazil on June 9, with Argentina's World Cup campaign on a knife-edge.
Messi's four-game ban, for abusing a linesman in last week's qualifier, was announced by FIFA just hours before Argentina faced Bolivia away.
Argentina was clearly rattled, slumping to a 2-0 loss to the second last team in the group without the Barcelona star.
It leaves Argentina in fifth place, which requires Russia 2018 qualification via the playoffs, and while the 'Albicelestes' would fancy their chances against New Zealand in a two-legged playoff, coach Edgardo Bauza would be no guarantee to last until November such is the pressure.
Argentina officials revealed that they would appeal the Messi ban, which has him suspended from official games until their final World Cup qualifier against Ecuador on October 10.
The MCG clash is Argentina's next game, before their crucial final four qualifiers against Uruguay (away), Venezuela, Peru (both home) and Ecuador (away).
On Wednesday, the MCG game organisers released a statement saying Messi's suspension would not include the MCG match.
"The matches Messi is disqualified for are all FIFA World Cup qualifying matches," the organisers said.
"Brazil and Argentina will bring their best available talent to Australia. For Brazil this includes 2016 Olympic Games gold medal winner, Neymar Jr, and stars Dani Alves, Filipe Luís, Fernandinho, Philippe Coutinho and Willian."
Buaza fumed about the timing of Messi's suspension.
"When the rumour began to settle, the concern began to take on more volume,'' Buaza said.
"It seemed strange that in one day everything could be done, that we did not have time to make an appeal.
"We did not have time to work with someone else. Now the corresponding procedure for the appeal is being processed.''
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.