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Apr 26, 2013

Cameron explains Suarez remarks

Prime minister David Cameron has defended his criticism of Liverpool striker Luis Suarez by saying the Uruguayan had set "the most appalling example" to youngsters when he bit Branislav Ivanovic.

• Rodgers: I'd understand exit
• Walsh: Suarez was wrong
• Brewin: Right and wrong

Suarez, 26, was banned for ten matches over the incident, which happened during the 2-2 Premier League draw with Chelsea at Anfield last weekend.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who said he believed the striker was being victimised by the FA, criticised Cameron for his intervention earlier this week.

The PM had suggested a longer ban for Suarez would be "very understandable" because of his high profile.

Rodgers responded by saying he did not think the inicdent had warranted such an intervention, adding: "There's no doubt, if you have those high-profile figures making those sorts of statements, there will be a bias."

Asked to explain his comments on Friday, Cameron told Radio Five Live: "I made my own views clear just as a dad watching the game.

"I've got a seven-year-old son who just loves watching football and, when players behave like this, it just sets the most appalling example to young people in our country."

Cameron insisted the length of the ban was entirely a matter for the FA, but criticised those who have attempted to defend Suarez.

He said: "The FA make the decision, they're entirely independent, and that is the way it should work.

"I'm going to leave it entirely to the FA. But, if you're asking me, as a dad and as a human being, do I think we should have tough penalties when players behave like this - yes, I think we should.

"There are people, I've read in some newspapers, who think somehow this isn't serious. I think it is serious. When we're trying to bring up our children properly, they do see football players as role models.

"Children do see these real-life examples, and they repeat them back to you."

Following the incident, Suarez apologised, was fined by his club and accepted an FA charge of violent conduct, but argued that a standard three-game ban would be enough.

However, in a statement released before the length of the ban was confirmed, the FA said three matches would be "clearly insufficient" in Suarez's case.

On Thursday, Rodgers argued that the FA had victimised Suarez and said they had "punished the man, not the incident".

He also questioned the impartiality of the independent commission that ultimately decided on the length of the punishment.

Liverpool have until noon on Friday to decide whether to appeal against Suarez's ban.

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