Suarez gets four-month suspension for biting

RIO DE JANEIRO — Luis Suarez was banned from soccer for four months and suspended for Uruguay’s next nine international matches by the sport’s governing body for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup match Tuesday in Brazil.

The 27-year-old striker will miss the rest of the tournament, including Uruguay’s round of 16 match June 28 against Colombia after the decision Thursday by FIFA’s disciplinary panel. He also will be out for 20 Liverpool games, the second straight season that a suspension has caused him to miss the start of the English Premier League season for biting.

Uruguay may appeal the suspension, though Suarez won’t be permitted to play against Colombia even during an appeal, FIFA said during a news conference in Rio de Janeiro. During the four-month ban Suarez won’t be allowed to enter any stadium. Suarez also was fined 100,000 Swiss francs ($112,000).

“Such behavior 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,” Claudio Sulser, chairman of FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee, said in a statement. “The Disciplinary Committee took into account all the factors of the case and the degree of Mr. Suarez’s guilt in accordance with the relevant provisions of the code. The decision comes into force as soon it is communicated.”

Liverpool will review the report from the FIFA’s disciplinary committee before commenting, Ian Ayre, the club’s chief executive officer, said on the team’s website. Suarez was named Player of the Year in England’s top division this season after scoring a league-high 31 goals.

Suarez will miss the exhibition matches leading up to the start of Liverpool’s season and nine English Premier League games, including the Aug. 23 visit to champion Manchester City. He will be eligible to return against Newcastle on Nov. 1. Last season, there were three Champions League match days before Oct. 25.

Liverpool’s odds of winning the league title dropped with the suspension. British bookmaker William Hill cut the team’s chances to 7-1 from 6-1. That means a successful $1 bet would return $7 plus the original stake. Manchester City is favorite at 13-8, with Chelsea at 2-1.

FIFA began disciplinary proceedings after video appeared to show Suarez biting Chiellini during the match in Natal. The incident happened just before Uruguay got the only goal of the game on Diego Godin’s 81st-minute goal from a corner kick. Uruguay advanced with the victory and Italy was eliminated.

The incident may affect an endorsement contract between Adidas and Suarez, who has had two previous league bans for biting players. The German maker of sports goods said it supports FIFA’s decision.

“Adidas certainly does not condone Luis Suarez’s recent behavior and we will again be reminding him of the high standards we expect from our players,” the company said Thursday in an emailed statement. “We have no plan to use Suarez for any additional marketing activities during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.”

Chiellini said in a television interview that Suarez’s teeth left a mark on his shoulder and referee Marco Rodriguez of Mexico ignored calls for the Uruguayan to be disciplined.

“I don’t have it anymore, but the mark was there when I was on the field, but the referee didn’t see it,” the Italian said. “There has to be measures for these type of things.”

Suarez in 2012 received an eight-game ban for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra and was jeered when he refused to shake the Frenchman’s hand before the start of a later match.

A year later, Suarez was suspended for 10 matches for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during a game. Suarez got a seven-game suspension in 2010 for biting an opponent when he played for Dutch team Ajax.

Suarez, who scored both goals in a 2-1 win over England on June 21, also has a tainted World Cup record. He used his hand to stop a goal-bound shot in a World Cup quarterfinal against Ghana in 2010, then celebrated in the tunnel after being dismissed from the game when Ghana missed the resulting penalty kick. Uruguay won the match in extra time.

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