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Inter Miami fined by Concacaf for ‘lack of security’ after hallway clash with Monterrey staff

As if losing 3-1 to Monterrey Wednesday night and getting eliminated from the Champions Cup wasn’t enough bad news for Inter Miami, the club also found out it was sanctioned by Concacaf following an investigation of a heated argument that occurred in a hallway at Chase Stadium in Fort Lauderdale April 3 after the first leg of the quarterfinal series.

Concacaf announced late Wednesday night that it had fined Inter Miami for “lack of security” at Chase Stadium.

Monterrey won that game 2-1, and both of its goals were scored after Inter Miami went down a man following the expulsion of midfielder David Ruiz with two yellow cards. The decision to throw out Ruiz upset Messi and several of his teammates, and a heated argument with the referee and Monterrey’s coaching staff erupted in a hallway between the two team locker rooms.

Monterrey filed a formal complaint with Concacaf against Inter Miami regarding verbal exchange between Messi and Monterrey coach Fernando “Tano” Ortiz. The complaint also mentioned Inter Miami players Luis Suarez and Jordi Alba, who supported Messi in the dispute, according to Mexican media reports.

The clash was apparently fueled by an Ortiz interview in the days leading to Wednesday’s game insinuating that the officiating would be biased in favor of Inter Miami because Messi is on the team and he drives business.

According to a leaked audio recording, in describing the hallway clash, Monterrey assistant coach Nico Sanchez said Messi and Miami coach Tata Martino had confronted the referees to complain about calls, Monterrey coaches got involved, and the argument escalated.

“After considering the documentation and evidence gathered during their investigation, which included requesting written statements from both clubs and thoroughly reviewing the reports submitted by the match officials, and based on the competiton’s regulations and the applicable Disciplinary Code, the Disciplinary Commitee has fined Inter Miami CF an undisclosed amount for lack of security in their stadium,” said the Concacaf statement.

“Furthermore, the Committee has warned Inter Miami CF that more severe sanctions could be taken should incidents occur during their future matches in Concacaf club competitions.”