RIO DE JANEIRO: Uruguay believe that Luis Suarez should receive only a caution from FIFA’s disciplinary committee for his controversial clash with Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini in Natal on Tuesday writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Wilmar Valdez, president of the Uruguayan federation, travelled to Rio de Janeiro to submit documentation on behalf of the Liverpool forward whom the Italians accused of biting Chiellini in the closing stages of the South Americans’ 1-0 win.
The upshot of the result was that Uruguay qualified for the second round as runners-up from Group D behind Costa Rica. Italy, holding out at 0-0 at the time of the incident, had needed a draw. The defeat meant instant elimination.
Valdez, in an interview with the Tenfield TV channel which is close to the Urugayan federation, said that he had received personal notification at 11pm on Tuesday night that world federation FIFA had launched a disciplinary inquiry.
A response had to be submitted to FIFA by 5pm Brasilia time Wednesday. The Uruguayans are defending Suarez on the basis of mitagating circumstances. They object that no action had been taken against Italian players and staff who harassed him earlier in the game and that he had ‘merely’ collided heavily with Chiellini.
The Uruguayans are also complaining that an unfair campaign has been deliberately whipped up by the Italian and English media with Brazilian interests in mind.
Valdez said: “The text clearly says ‘alleged violation,’ ie that the charge is unproven. The note of the charge was delivered along with a video which FIFA is studying.
“We immediately started talking with our lawyers and worked until dawn to prepare the documentation defending Suárez. Myself and leaders of our delegation will also travel to Rio de Janeiro to be present in person to defend Luis before the disciplinary committee.”
Suarez will not attend, resting and preparing in the hope of being able to play against Colombia in the second round tie in Maracana on Saturday. Valdez believed that, “due to the urgency of the case” there would be a decision some time on Thursday.
The Uruguayan documentation includes video clips of the Italians fouling Suarez earlier in the game, unpunished, and to which he did not retaliate. Another clip concerned an incident when Suarez was fouled and fell near the Italian bench “where he was insulted by several reserves and assistants who got off the bench to do so.”
Asked whether he was concerned about foreign media pressure, Valdez said: “Definitely. Here’s an issue that obviously has an impact because we continue to play at the World Cup. A lot of attention has been directed on this because Brazil has many interests involved.
“This is why I and my fellow directors are going to Rio to fight and to ensure that, if there is a penalty, it is a fair one. It could be a suspension or a warning. Those are the possibilities listed in the FIFA disciplinary code.
“We are taking all the steps we need to ensure the best possible defence because so much fuss has been created by the international media since Luis is a player of world class and there is no doubt that all our likely future rivals will not want to face Uruguay with him in our team.”
Valdez insisted that Suarez’s club record would have no bearing on the case “because they did not occur in these international tournaments.”
Finally Valdez insisted that Suarez was bearing up well under the latest weight of controversy.
He said: “Luis is fine. He is a boy who has been through a thousand and one battles. We know Luis has a strong character, the sort of character that helps you recover from difficult situations.
“There aren’t many players who could have surgery and, within three weeks, be playing two very tough matches at the World Cup finals. We all know what Luis amounts to and this is why we have to defend him.
“We also have to defend ourselves because, though Uruguay is a small country, we’re really a thorn in many sides.”