RIO DE JANEIRO, May 3 (Xinhua ) -- Lionel Messi will reportedly not accompany an Argentine legal team in Switzerland on Thursday in its appeal against the forward's four-game international ban.
Messi has already served one match of the penalty, issued in March after he was found guilty of abusing a linesman in Argentina's 1-0 victory over Chile in Buenos Aires. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner was also fined 10,000 US dollars by the FIFA disciplinary committee.
Messi had been expected to attend the hearing at FIFA headquarters in Zurich as the Argentine football association (AFA) exhausts all options in its bid to reduce the sentence.
Despite his likely absence, Messi will participate in the session via video link, according to widespread media reports, which cited "personal reasons" for his decision not to travel.
Argentina, who are without a coach after the sacking of Edgardo Bauza last month, are currently in danger of missing the World Cup finals for the first time since 1970.
The two-time World Cup winners are currently fifth in the CONMEBOL South American zone standings with 22 points from 14 matches, 11 points behind leaders Brazil.
The top four teams at the end of the qualifying competition will automatically progress to football's showpiece tournament in Russia next year. The fifth-ranked team will earn a play-off spot against the top side from Oceania.