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

on-pitch misbehavior.

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

turbulent career.

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

Ajax.”

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.