LONDON: Liverpool’s Luis Suarez has been charged with violent conduct by the FA after biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic during Sunday’s 2-2 deraw at Anfield in the Premier League.
Television footage seen by millions showed the striker sinking his teeth into the defender’s arm in an incident missed by referee Kevin Friend. Suarez went on to rescue a point for Liverpool with a headed equaliser in the last of seven minutes of stoppage time.
The 26-year-old has since apologised for what he called his “unacceptable behaviour” and confirmed on his Twitter account that he has been fined by his club.
He now faces suspension for a number of matches, certainly beyond the standard three, for violent conduct.
An FA spokesman said: “It is our contention that the standard punishment of three matches that would otherwise apply is clearly insufficient in these circumstances.”
The incident can be judged retrospectively by the FA because it was missed by referee Friend and his aides.
Suarez has until 6pm tomorrow to respond to the charge, with an independent regulatory commission expected to meet on Wednesday to decide whether he should be punished.
Liverpool have only four games left this season and a match ban of the length sought by the FA would bring his season to a premature end. Suarez has requested that his fine be donated to the Hillsborough Family Support Group.
Managing director Ian Ayre, asked whether the incident would have any effect on the player’s future, said: “No, not at all – [only] in the sense that we have to work with him on his discipline – but Luis is a very important player to the club.
“He signed a new four-year contract last summer and we’d all love to see him here throughout that contract. He’s a fantastic player, top scorer and everything we’d want in a striker, so there’s no change there.
“This is more about getting him back on the right track and it’s largely down to [manager] Brendan Rodgers now to work with him on that side of his character, Brendan will be working with him further on his discipline.”
Suarez will be offered anger management counselling by the Professional Footballers’ Association but it seems more likely Liverpool would be inclined to chose to utilise the services of their own in-house sports psychologist Dr Steve Peters.
He has been working one day a week at the club’s training Melwood training ground for most of the season, having enjoyed success most notably with Great Britain’s Olympic gold medal-winning cyclists like Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton.
Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the players’ union the Professional Footballers’ Association, said: “There is no doubting his football ability, that’s why it is so disappointing and embarrassing when he lets himself down.
“We have to work hard on anger management now. We have trained counsellors in this field and we will be offering their services to Liverpool and the player to try to improve matters.”
Suarez’s boot sponsors adidas will also speak to their client. A statement said: “Adidas takes this type of incident very seriously and does not condone Luis Suarez’s behaviour. We will be reminding him of the standards we expect from our players.”
In a Sunday night phone call Suarez apologised to Ivanovic and Merseyside Police have confirmed no action will be taken against him after officers from the Surrey force, on behalf of their north-west colleagues, spoke to the Chelsea defender.
The Serbia international did not report any physical injury and told police he did not want to pursue the matter.
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