Suarez handed 10-game ban for biting opponent
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was handed a 10-match ban on
Wednesday for biting an opponent during a Premier League game, one
of the most severe sanctions meted out by English football for
A disciplinary panel ruled that a regular three-match ban for
violent conduct was ”clearly insufficient” and added seven games
to the suspension, which rules Suarez out for the rest of the
campaign and for the first six matches of next season.
Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre said Suarez and the club
were ”shocked and disappointed” at the punishment, which came
after the latest transgression in the Uruguay international’s
Suarez has until Friday to appeal against the extra seven games
added to his sanction. If he fails in any appeal, Suarez likely
won’t play another game for Liverpool until September.
”We await the written reasons tomorrow before making any
further comment,” said Ayre, who has already said the club has no
intention of selling Suarez – the Premier League’s second highest
scorer with 23 goals.
In a Premier League match broadcast globally on Sunday, Suarez
bit Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic on the upper right arm
during the 2-2 draw at Anfield. He wasn’t sent off because the
referee didn’t see the incident, which was reviewed retroactively
by the English Football Association.
Suarez, who was fined by Liverpool after admitting to biting
Ivanovic, was banned for seven matches in 2010 for a similar
offense while playing for Ajax against PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch
league. That incident earned him the nickname ”Cannibal of
Suarez was also suspended for eight games in December 2011 for
making racist insults toward Manchester United defender Patrice
Evra during a match.
The FA has come down hard on Suarez, giving him a more severe
ban than it handed to him and Chelsea captain John Terry (four
matches) for racist abuse last season. It has parallels with a
recent judgment in rugby league, when England international James
Graham was banned for 12 games for biting an opponent during an
Australian league game.
It’s not as heavy, though, as the 12-game ban handed to Joey
Barton after he clashed with Manchester City players after his
sending-off for Queens Park Rangers on the final day of last
season. In 1998, Paolo Di Canio – the current Sunderland manager –
was suspended for 11 games for pushing a referee while playing for
Sheffield Wednesday while David Prutton was banned for 10 matches
in 2005 for shoving a referee after being sent off.
With his goals and performances this season, Suarez was starting
to rehabilitate a reputation that was first damaged when he was
sent off for a deliberate handball to prevent Ghana from scoring a
late goal in a World Cup quarterfinal match in 2010. He was seen
celebrating on the sideline when Ghana missed the spot kick and
Uruguay advanced in a shootout.
His penchant for diving aside, even his critics had been
starting to warm to one of the world’s most gifted players. He is
on the six-man shortlist for English football’s Player of the Year
award, compiled before Sunday’s incident.