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 Posted by Mike WhalleyESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Jun 26, 2014

Luis Suarez banned for four months

Wright Thompson reports on the immediate reactions to the Luis Suarez ban.

Luis Suarez has been banned for nine international matches -- and from all football activity for four months -- after being found guilty of biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini.

Uruguay and Liverpool striker Suarez, 27, bit the defender during the latter stages of the 1-0 victory that secured Uruguay's place in the knockout stages. 

FIFA launched an immediate investigation, and an independent disciplinary panel confirmed the punishment on Thursday. Uruguay football federation president Wilmer Valdez said the organisation would be lodging an appeal.

The sanctions mean that, in addition to his World Cup immediately being over, Suarez will miss nine Premier League games as well as Champions League and Capital One Cup matches before the end of October -- assuming he stays at Liverpool.

A FIFA statement said: "The player Luis Suarez is to be suspended for nine official matches. The first match of this suspension is to be served in the upcoming [round of 16] FIFA World Cup fixture between Colombia and Uruguay.

"The remaining match suspensions shall be served in Uruguay's next FIFA World Cup matches, as long as the team qualifies, and/or in the representative team's subsequent official matches.

"The player is banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity -- administrative, sports or any other -- for a period of four months. A stadium ban is pronounced against Luis Suarez, who is prohibited from entering the confines of any stadium during the period of the ban."

Suarez was also ordered to pay a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs (65,700 pounds).

Claudio Sulser, the chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, said: "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.

"The disciplinary committee took into account all the factors of the case and the degree of Mr Suarez's guilt. The decision comes into force as soon it is communicated."

Liverpool chief executive officer Ian Ayre said in a short statement: "Liverpool Football Club will wait until we have seen and had time to review the FIFA Disciplinary Committee report before making any further comment."

The player's brother Maxi told ESPN's Wright Thompson: "I am devastated. I am very sad. It's incredible. I thought it was not going to be so severe.

"I am very nervous now but we [Uruguay] have to keep on. The team is strong. They are going to win."

The incident happened when Suarez and Chiellini clashed off the ball in the penalty area.

Luis Suarez defended himself after the incident,

Suarez fell to the ground holding his mouth, apparently suggesting that he had been elbowed, while the Juventus centre-back pulled down his shirt to reveal a bite mark on his left shoulder as he ran to referee Marco Rodriguez to complain.

As he did so, Uruguay forward Gaston Ramirez tried to pull his shirt back into place, while the referee took no action against Suarez.

The Liverpool striker defended himself on Uruguayan television after the incident, saying: "These situations happen on the pitch. We were both just inside the area, he struck me in the chest with his shoulder and he hit me in the eye as well."

It is the third time in his career that Suarez has been involved in such a controversy.

Notable World Cup Suspensions

15 months - 1994: Diego Maradona (Arg). Failed drugs test
12 months - 1986: Samir Shaker Mahmoud (Irq). Spat at referee.
6 months - 2002: Joao Pinto (Por). Punching referee
8 matches - 1994: Mauro Tassotti (Ita). Elbowed Luis Enrique
4 matches - 2006: Leandro Cufré (Arg). Kicked Per Mertesacker
4 matches - 2006: Daniele De Rossi (Ita). Elbowed Brian McBride
4 matches - 1994: Leonardo (Bra). Elbowed Tab Ramos
3 matches - 2006: Pablo Mastroeni (USA). Reckless tackle
3 matches - 2014: Alex Song (Cmr). Elbowed Mario Mandzukic
3 matches - 2006: Zinedine Zidane* (Fra). Headbutt
*Zidane retired so never served his ban.

He was suspended for seven matches after biting PSV midfielder Otman Bakkal while playing for Ajax in an Eredivisie game in November 2010, and banned for 10 games after doing the same to Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in 2013.

The striker has attracted widespread condemnation for the bite, with critics including his former Liverpool teammate Jamie Carragher.

Retired centre-back Carragher told the Daily Mail on Thursday: "Luis's actions have been disgraceful, and it defies belief that he could behave as if he was in a playground once again after everything Liverpool have done for him."

Liverpool legends Robbie Fowler and Phil Thompson also condemned the striker, with The Sun reporting Fowler as saying: "You can't defend him. He's continually dragging the club's name through the mud.

"I wouldn't be surprised if Suarez left now. He's a different person on the pitch and you can't condone what he's done."

Suarez is under contract until 2018 but has a release clause in that deal, with reports suggesting it is somewhere between 65 million and 80 million pounds.

Barcelona have been strongly linked with a move for Suarez in recent days, although it remains unclear whether they will try to sign him in the wake of FIFA's punishment. FIFA officials have said the player could still be transferred during the four-month ban.

On Thursday, his sponsor adidas issued a statement that said it "certainly does not condone Luis Suarez's recent behaviour."

It added: "We will again be reminding him of the high standards we expect from our players. We have no plan to use Suarez for any additional marketing activities during the 2014 FIFA World Cup."

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