FIFA hits Suarez with global 4-month ban, plus 9 int'l matches
FIFA bites back!
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AFP) — FIFA yesterday banned Uruguay striker Luis Suarez from all football action for four months -- the heaviest sanction in World Cup history -- for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini.
The 27-year-old was also banned from nine international matches for his country that could last into next year and fined 100,000 Swiss francs (82,000 euros/US$112,000) for his third case of sinking his teeth into an opponent.
The Uruguay Football Association said it would appeal, but Suarez has already established his notoriety as one of the most brilliant and uncontrollable footballers in the world.
FIFA announced the stinging punishment less than 48 hours after Suarez bit Chiellini in Uruguay's 1-0 victory over Italy that took the South Americans into the World Cup second round.
"Such behaviour cannot be tolerated on any football pitch, and in particular not at a FIFA World Cup when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field," said FIFA Disciplinary Committee chairman Claudio Sulser in a statement.
"The Disciplinary Committee took into account all the factors of the case and the degree of Mr Suarez's guilt in accordance with the relevant provisions of the (FIFA disciplinary) code," he added.
Suarez misses Uruguay's second-round match against Colombia on Saturday even if the appeal is made.
As part of the four-month ban on football activities, Suarez will not be allowed into a stadium and he will also miss the start of the English Premier League with his club side Liverpool.
The English club said no immediate decision on Suarez's future would be announced. "Liverpool Football Club will wait until we have seen and had time to review the FIFA Disciplinary Committee report before making any further comment," said chief executive Ian Ayre.
Adidas, who have used Suarez in a front-line promotion role in recent months, said it would stop using him in adverts for the rest of the World Cup.
"Adidas fully backs FIFA's decision," a spokeswoman told AFP. "We do not accept the recent behaviour of Luis Suarez and shall remind him of the high standards we expect of our players.
"We have no plan to use Suarez for any other marketing activities during the 2014 FIFA World Cup."
Suarez made no immediate comment and his whereabouts was not immediately known. Uruguay's second-round game is in Rio de Janeiro.
He had initially shrugged off the incident. "These are just things that happen out on the pitch. It was just the two of us inside the area and he bumped into me with his shoulder," Suarez told Uruguayan television on Tuesday.
Uruguay has rallied around its tempestuous football star and its football establishment and government totally rejected the punishment.
Uruguayan FA president Wilmar Valdez called the FIFA punishment "totally exaggerated" and said an appeal would be lodged yesterday.
"This disproportionate sanction hurts us," added Sports Minister Liliam Kechichian. The minister said she would meet President Jose Mujica to discuss a follow-up to the FIFA action.
English Professional Footballers Association chief Gordon Taylor said that FIFA should have ordered Suarez to seek counselling.
"I feel FIFA should have led the way with regard to trying to make sure that this behaviour is just eradicated and insist on there being some serious counselling and treatment for Luis Suarez because there's no doubt he's one of the finest players in the world," Taylor said.
Suarez is now a serial biter in matches. Dutch media dubbed him the 'cannibal of Ajax' after Suarez bit PSV Einhoven's Otman Bakkal shoulder in a Dutch league game in November 2010. Suarez was later handed a seven-game ban.
In April 2013, he bit Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic's on the arm in a Premier League match. He was given a 10-game suspension for that offence.
The Uruguayan has also been in trouble over on-the-field comments. He hurled racial abuse at Manchester United's Patrice Evra during a Premier League game in October 2011.
The English FA banned him for eight matches and fined him £40,000. He refused to shake hands with Evra when the two teams met later that season.