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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff
Jul 3, 2014

Pele backs Luis Suarez sanction

Brazilian legend Pele has backed FIFA's stance on its decision to ban Luis Suarez from all football-related activity for four months.

Suarez's World Cup ended when the Uruguay striker was retrospectively punished for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini on June 24.

The ruling, which also saw Suarez banned from nine international matches and fined 65,000 pounds, was met with dismay in Uruguay, with some questioning the severity of the punishment.

But with an appeal in process, Pele believes the governing body was well within its rights to make an example of Suarez.

Pele said: "If he was not sanctioned in this way, such incidents could be repeated. No player can do what Luis Suarez did. I believe that the punishment is fair.

"FIFA's decision is good and is correct because it sets an example."

Pele does not believe the suspension will be too much of a setback in Suarez's career, however, adding: "He's a great player and he will bounce back."

Uruguay, along with Costa Rica, advanced from Group D at the expense of Italy and England, who collected just one point from three games.

However, Pele thinks they can learn from the setback and and has insisted Roy Hodgson must remain at the helm.

"I did not expect England to be eliminated early in the tournament; but as I always say: football is a box of surprises. In that same group, Costa Rica are proving to be a great surprise in this tournament," he said.

"Roy Hodgson is not the main reason of the disappointing tournament for England. You need all the players and the entire organisation to be at their best during the tournament to perform well.

"An early elimination is always a good reason to review what went wrong and come back stronger. England can learn from today's mistakes and bounce back at Euro 2016."

The 73-year-old, a three-time World Cup winner and Brazil's leading goal-scorer of all-time with 77 strikes in 92 appearances, is enjoying the ongoing tournament on his home soil and is eager for his country to be crowned champions.

"I've loved the competition so far," he said. "The atmosphere here is fantastic. International fans are happy to be at the stadiums all over Brazil and the tournament has offered great football so far.

"My wish is that Brazil wins. It would be very sad for us if we don't win the competition."

Pele singled out Neymar for special praise, with the forward scoring four goals so far and having netted the deciding spot-kick to ensure the host nation edged Chile on penalties over the weekend.

"I have been very happy for Neymar so far in this tournament," Pele said. "He helped the team win some games by scoring goals.

"During the penalty kicks against Chile, he showed a lot of confidence and experience for his first ever World Cup."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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