LONDON: Luis Suarez will miss the last four games of this season and the first four of next term after being suspended for 10 overall for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic on the upper arm in the closing stages of Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Anfield writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Chelsea’s sense of injustice was exacerbated because Suarez, his offence missed by referee Kevin Friend, escaped a red card, stayed on the pitch and scored Liverpool’s equaliser in the last minute of stoppage time.
The Uruguayan, who has a long record of misbehaviour in World Cup, in Dutch football and the Premier League, had apologised publicly and to Ivanovic but had contested a warning that he would incur more than the basic three-match ban laid down for violent conduct.
Suarez joined Liverpool from Ajax in January 2010 for £23m while in the middle of a seven-game ban in Holland after he bit PSV’s Otman Bakkal in a Dutch league game.
In the 2010-11 seasons he was banned for eight games by the Football Association for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra.
Liverpool’s managing director Ian Ayre, who earlier this week insisted the club were determined to keep Suarez, said: “Both the club and player are shocked and disappointed at the severity of today’s independent regulatory commission decision. We await the written reasons tomorrow before making any further comment.”
The commission had agreed with the FA, which said in statement: “A three-person independent regulatory commission today upheld the FA’s claim that a suspension of three matches was clearly insufficient and the player will serve a further seven first-team matches in addition to the standard three. The suspension begins with immediate effect.”
Suarez has until midday on Friday to appeal the additional suspension, above the standard three matches.
Joey Barton was given a 12-game ban last season, for a red card and violent conduct towards three players. In 2006, the FA banned Ben Thatcher for eight matches for an elbow incident which left Pedro Mendes unconscious.
The three-person regulatory commission included a former player and dealt with the case under the FA’s fast-track system.
There is no standard minimum or maximum punishment for biting in football’s disciplinary code, unlike rugby union which has a 12-week recommended suspension for first offences up to a four-year ban for the most serious biting offences.
Suarez will remain eligible for the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award, for which he has been shortlisted, with the announcement on Sunday.
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