Luis Suarez: four-month bite ban leaves Liverpool reeling
The Uruguayan will not be able to play or even train with his club until late October
Luis Suarez has been banned from all football for four months by Fifa after being seen to bite Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.
The Uruguayan, who has been banned twice before for biting, sank his teeth into his opponent during the Group D clash on Tuesday afternoon.
The Fifa punishment also includes a nine-game international ban, a £66,000 fine and a stadium ban. It is the heftiest World Cup punishment ever handed down by football's governing body.
It means that the 27-year-old will miss the rest of the World Cup and will also be banned from playing for Liverpool until the end of October. He will miss nine Premier League and three Champions League matches. Suarez also missed the start of last season after being banned for a bite on Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.
Luis Suarez will earn nearly £4m before he next plays a match for Liverpool. #Suarez
— RealFantasyFootball (@rffuk) June 26, 2014
Updated fact - Luis #Suarez has now been banned for 34 games since 2010 without receiving a red card.
— Footie Writer (@FootieWriter) June 26, 2014
The ban "is unprecedented and will have massive implications for the Anfield club", reports the Liverpool Echo. The Liverpool striker will not even be able to train for his club or country for four months reports The Guardian, which says the punishment "is sure to provoke dismay from both Uruguay and Liverpool".
Fifa launched an investigation after Suarez appeared to sink his teeth into Chiellini's shoulder when the two players came together in the Italian penalty area. Chiellini pulled down his shirt after the clash to reveal tooth marks on his shoulder.
Uruguay, who won the match 1-0 to knock Italy out of the competition, tried to play down the controversy. Several players sprang to Suarez's defence insisting that he was the victim of a media witch-hunt. The Uruguayan FA even tried to claim that pictures of the wound on Chiellini's shoulder had been digitally altered.
Suarez himself told reporters: "These situations happen on the pitch, we were both just inside the area, he struck me in the chest with his shoulder and he hit me in the eye as well."
Fifa announced the punishment on Thursday morning. A statement said: "The player is banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity – administrative, sports or any other – for a period of four months. A stadium ban is pronounced against Luis Suarez, who is prohibited from entering the confines of any stadium during the period of the ban."
Claudio Sulser, chairman of the Fifa Disciplinary Committee, added: "Such behaviour cannot be tolerated on any football pitch, and in particular not at a Fifa World Cup when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field."