FIFA bans Suarez for 4 months for biting opponent
Updated: 2014-06-27 07:35
Uruguay's Luis Suarez (R) reacts after clashing with Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal in this June 24, 2014 file photograph. [Photo/Agencies]
But now, the 27-year-old Suarez is the main actor in the World Cup's most damaging episode for a second time.
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In the quarterfinals in 2010 in South Africa, his deliberate handball on the goal-line in the final minute of extra time denied Ghana an almost certain winning goal that would have made it the first ever African semifinalist.
Suarez was sent off, and then refused to apologize for his celebratory dance near the players' tunnel where he stayed to watch Ghana miss the resulting penalty. He also shrugged off criticism Tuesday of his bite.
As usual, Uruguay officials and players defended their star player Thursday.
"It feels like Uruguay has been thrown out of the World Cup," Valdez said, denouncing "a severe punishment."
Veteran defender Diego Lugano wrote on his Facebook page that Suarez's family should be "proud of him, he deserves it."
"A hug to Luis, who, as always, will rise," Lugano, captain on the 2010 team, wrote. "Outrage, impotence, I think that's what all of us feel. We all would like a fairer world, but that world simply doesn't exist."
Even Uruguay fans who agreed Suarez's action was "stupid" did not agree with the sanction.
"Uruguay is a small country that eliminated two big nations like Italy and England and it's not for FIFA's benefit to let Uruguay continue playing," supporter Juan Jose Monzillo said in Montevideo.
Suarez's ban extends one game more than Italy defender Mauro Tassotti's eight-match international sanction for elbowing a Spanish opponent in a 1994 World Cup quarterfinal. That incident was also missed by match officials.
By also banning Suarez from all football activities, FIFA also prohibited Suarez from entering a World Cup stadium. He cannot train with Liverpool until the ban ends in late October.
"Hopefully he will realize now that behavior of this type will not be tolerated under any circumstances," said FIFA vice president Jim Boyce of Northern Ireland.
The ban includes Liverpool's first three Champions League games in the five-time European champion's return after a five-year absence. Suarez will also miss the first nine Premier League matches.
Suarez would still be allowed transfer to a different club during the ban, Fischer said. He has been linked to a move to Barcelona.
Sports manufacturer adidas, which sponsors both Suarez and the World Cup, said it agreed with the ruling. The company said it will not use Suarez for ``additional marketing'' during the World Cup but would not immediately drop him as a client.
"We will again be reminding him of the high standards we expect from our players," adidas said in a statement.