Fifa’s independent disciplinary committee has banned Luis Suárez from all football-related activity for four months after he was seen biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini.
The decision means the Liverpool striker, who has also been fined £66,000, will miss the rest of Uruguay’s World Cup campaign and the start of the domestic season. He is banned from Uruguay’s next nine competitive matches in total, and from entering any stadium during this period.
Uruguay’s FA are able to appeal against the sanctions, but even if the appeal is lodged and the process is under way he will not be able play in any matches.
Claudio Sulser, chairman of the committee, said: “Such behaviour 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.
“The Disciplinary Committee took into account all the factors of the case and the degree of Mr Suárez’s guilt in accordance with the relevant provisions of the code. The decision comes into force as soon it is communicated.”
Speaking before the verdict was announced, Suárez’s lawyer, Alejandro Balbi, claimed there was a European campaign against the Liverpool striker being led by England and Italy, while Uruguay’s FA suggested that pictures of teeth-marks on Chiellini’s shoulder were digitally altered.
Balbi told Uruguayan radio: “We don’t have any doubts that this has happened because it’s Suárez involved and secondly because Italy have been eliminated. There’s a lot of pressure from England and Italy. We’re convinced that it was an absolutely casual play, because if Chiellini can show a scratch on one shoulder, Suárez can show a bruised and an almost closed eye.”
Uruguay won the Group D encounter in Natal 1-0 to secure a last-16 match against Colombia. Suárez defended himself on Uruguayan television after the incident, saying: “These situations happen on the pitch, we were both just inside the area, he struck me in the chest with his shoulder and he hit me in the eye as well.”
Chiellini, however, insists that Suárez knew exactly what he was doing and was dismayed that he was not sent off for his apparent actions.
The defender told Rai TV: “It was ridiculous not to send Suarez off, it is clear, clear-cut and there was the obvious dive afterwards because he knew very well that he did something that he shouldn’t have done.”