LIVERPOOL: Liverpool have fined Luis Suarez for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in an incident at Anfield on Sunday which has also prompted a Football Association investigation writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The incident apparently occurred out of sight of referee Kevin Friend and Chelsea’s fury was exacerbated by the fact that Suarez, having escaped a red card, scored Liverpool’s last-minute equaliser.
Even Liverpool fans flooded radio phone-in programme with furious calls about the behavi0ur of the Uruguayan.
Suarez was clearly shown by television replays as having grabbed the arm of Ivanovic and sink his teeth into the Chelsea defender’s right arm around the elbow.
Later he wrote via Twitter: “I’m sad for what happened this afternoon, I apologize Ivanovic and all football world for my inexcusable behaviour. I’m so sorry about it!!”
Suarez, who added in a statement that he had sought to contact the Chelsea player, offered his full apologies to his club, his team-mates and the fans.
He said: “I am deeply sorry for my inexcusable behaviour earlier today during our match against Chelsea. “I have issued an apology and have tried to contact Branislav Ivanović to speak to him personally. I apologise also to my manager, playing colleagues and everyone at Liverpool Football Club for letting them down.”
Today, also via Twitter, Suarez revealed that the club had already taken disciplinary action. He said: “For my unacceptable behaviour yesterday the club has fined me today, I have asked the club to donate the money to the Hillsborough Family Support Group for the inconvenience I have created to the Liverpool fans and to Ivanovic.”
Last night, indicating disciplinary action ahead, Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre said: “Luis has made an unreserved apology for his actions today. His behaviour is not befitting of any player wearing a Liverpool shirt and Luis is aware that he has let himself and everyone associated with the club down. We will deal with the matter internally and await any action from the FA.”
Manager Brendan Rodgers added: “Having reviewed the video footage and spoken to Luis, his behaviour is unacceptable and I have made him aware of this.”
The player has a disciplinary record which does his outstanding talent no favours.
Suarez was sent off for saving the ball with his hands on the goal-line in the last minute of stoppage time of Uruguay’s 2010 World Cup quarter-final against Ghana in South Africa. Suarez was sent off but was hailed as a hero back home in Montevideo because Uruguay won the penalty shootout and went on to the semi-finals.
By then Suarez was playing his club football for Ajax Amsterdam in Holland. Only five months after the World Cup incident he was banned for seven games for biting PSV Eindhoven player Otman Bakkal in a Dutch league game in November 2010. He was still serving that suspension when Liverpool paid £23m for him the following January.
Controversy continued to follow him at Liverpool.
He was banned for eight matches in the middle of the 2010-11 season for racially insulting Manchester United’s France defender Patrice Evra. Liverpool emerged badly from the affair with their initial attempts to defend him.
Suarez has been accused frequently of diving and even admitted to diving against Stoke City in October but claimed he was picked on by the British media, and escaped notice or punishment after a handball when he scored the winner in an FA Cup tie in January.
That was not all.
World Cup punch
Last month he punched Chile’s Gonzalo Jara during a South American World Cup qualifier, an incident which was missed by Argentinian referee Nestor Pitana. Uruguayan media reports said Suarez was reacting after Jara grabbed his genitals.
FIFA has opened disciplinary action against Suarez though Uruguayan federation president Sebastian Bauza has said: “Once again we feel Suarez is being persecuted by different football leagues, mainly the English, and we think this is unjust because it’s a normal action in football. We will defend him very strongly.”
How anyone can defend Suarez this time is hard to imagine.
Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, was depressed by the incident.
He said: “It was not good to see to say the least. It was unacceptable. I know it’s a really difficult one for Liverpool and the FA are going to have to deal with it.”
Immediately after the game Liverpool manager Rodgers had said: “This is a club with incredible values and ethics here. We’ll review it as a club, because there’s certainly no one bigger than this football club, a player or manager. As football managers and staff and players, we’re representing this club, off the field and in particular on the field.
“I’ll always defend people if I think they’re right – if I think they’re wrong I’ll tell them, and that’s already happened with Luis this year. And then we move on from it. If that’s what the case is, they’ve got to accept the consequences accordingly.”
Graeme Souness, former Liverpool captain, described the incident as “embarrassing” and that this put Suarez “in the last chance saloon as a Liverpool player.”
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