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Jun 27, 2014

Suarez supported by Maradona, gran

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

FIFA's treatment of Luis Suarez has been criticised by the player's grandmother and Diego Maradona.

- Liverpool discuss Luis Suarez options
- Brewin: No sympathy for Suarez
- Marcotti: Suarez's ban - why and what now
- Kelly: Football's morality is skewed, but Suarez warrants censure

Former World Cup winner Maradona compared the punishment handed out to the Uruguay forward to sending him to Guantanamo Bay detention centre, while Suarez's grandmother claimed he had been treated "like a dog".

Maradona's reaction is in line with widespread outrage among Uruguay fans on Thursday after Suarez was banned by FIFA for four months, having been found guilty of biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during Uruguay's 1-0 World Cup Group D win two days earlier.

The ban also covers Uruguay's next nine international games, and could affect his club future -- given La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid were both expected to make a serious effort to sign Suarez from Liverpool once the tournament finished.

Maradona made his comments on the matter on the Venezuelan TV show "From the Left" which was this week praised by former Cuban president Fidel Castro.

"Why do they not send [Suarez] to Guantanamo?" the former Argentina player and coach asked. "Why? Who did he kill? This is football, this is just a scratch. It is an unfair punishment, an incredible mafia thing."

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The 1986 World Cup winner, who has thrown out of the 1994 tournament after failing a drug test, also claimed Suarez's ban showed hypocrisy in FIFA's rulings.

"Neymar elbowed an opponent [against Croatia in Brazil's opening World Cup 2014 game], which [should have been] a straight red card and nobody said anything," he said. "Two Cameroon players fought on the pitch. The whole world saw it and nobody said anything. They are acting the moralist with Suarez, when they gave [Zinedine] Zidane the Ballon d'Or after the final against Italy [when he headbutted Marco Materazzi. Zidane actually finished runner-up in the FIFA World Player of the Year vote]."

Suarez's Shame
Luis Suarez has been offered support by Diego Maradona.

In a move which mirrored the supportive response of Liverpool's squad when Suarez was banned for eight games for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra during the 2011-12 season, at the end of the show "El Diego" donned a white T-shirt with the message: 'Luisito we are with you'.

Suarez has now been banned three times in the last four years for biting, as well as the punishment for racially abusing an opponent. However his grandmother feels that the authorities were clearly out to get her grandson.

"Everyone knows what they've done to Luis," Lila Piriz Da Rosa told Reuters. "They wanted him out of the World Cup. Perfect, they did it. They chucked him out of there like a dog."

FIFA's punishment includes a ban from all football-related activity, meaning Suarez was forced to immediately leave Uruguay's team camp in Brazil. Uruguay's FA president Wilmar Valdez has said the punishment will be appealed, but FIFA has made clear that the 27-year-old has no chance of playing in Uruguay's round of 16 game against Colombia in Rio De Janeiro on Saturday.

This extra element to the punishment has been taken as further proof by some of Suarez's countrymen that they are being singled out by the authorities.

"'They clearly wanted to kick Suarez out of the World Cup," fruit and vegetable seller Juan Jose Monzillo told AP. "Uruguay is a small country that eliminated two big nations like Italy and England and it doesn't benefit FIFA to let Uruguay continue playing."

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