Suarez ‘bite’: FIFA opens disciplinary probe
RIO DE JANEIRO, JUNE 25:
FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Uruguay striker Luis Suarez for allegedly biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during their World Cup match.
Suarez and the Uruguay football association have until 5 pm Brasilia time (2000 GMT) to state their case and present any relevant documents, football’s governing body said.
“FIFA can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the player Luis Suarez of Uruguay,” the body said in a statement.
Suarez, who has served two lengthy suspensions for biting opponents, could face a ban of up to 24 matches if found guilty.
However, the Liverpool striker has downplayed the incident, and told Uruguyan media: “I have just heard (about the investigation). If we are going to investigate anything ... These are incidents of play and they should stay on the pitch.” In the 79th minute incident in the Group D match, Suarez pushed his head towards Chiellini and appeared to bite the defender in the shoulder in the penalty area just before Diego Godin headed Uruguay’s winner.
Chiellini pulled his shirt down to show the referee an apparent mark on his shoulder made from the clash.“It was ridiculous not to send Suarez off,” he told Rai TV.
“It is clear, clear-cut and then there was the obvious dive afterwards because he knew very well that he did something that he shouldn’t have done.” The incident was not seen by the referee but FIFA said the proceedings related to any “infringements which have escaped the match officials’ attention.”
Suarez later told Uruguayan media it was a normal incident in play and should not be taken so seriously. “Millions of things happen on the pitch,” Suarez told Uruguayan media.
“We are all football players, we know what happens on the pitch, we don’t have to take anything seriously,” he said.
Suarez pointed to his own eye, which appeared bruised after possibly taking a blow in the same incident with Chiellini.
“(Chiellini) says he has a bite here, at the back, but I bumped onto his shoulder here, at the front,” Suarez said. “I don’t think there’s anything to it. These are things that happen on the pitch, you can see my eye.” Several Uruguayan media reports also said the incident was being whipped up by the media, and in particularly the British media.
Although FIFA has not commented further, the body’s vice-president and head of the body’s referees committee Jim Boyce indicated disciplinary action would be taken.
“I have watched the incident several times on television. There is no doubt Luis Suarez is a fantastic footballer but, once again, his actions have left him open to severe criticism,” he was quoted as saying.
“FIFA must investigate the incident seriously and take whatever disciplinary action deemed necessary.” Suarez was banned for 10 games for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in a Premier League match in April 2013.
He was also banned for seven games for biting PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal’s shoulder while Ajax captain in 2010.
In England. where he was last season’s Premier League top scorer and voted player of the year, he also served an eight-game ban after being found guilty by the Football Association of racially abusing United’s Patrice Evra in an incident in October 2011, a charge he always denied.
At the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Suarez was involved in a controversial incident when he handled on the line to deny Ghana a winner in the last minute of extra-time in the quarter-finals. Asamoah Gyan missed the resulting penalty and Uruguay won the shoot-out to reach the semi-finals.
Uruguayan media have meanwhile pointed out that there is no clear photo evidence of a bite, and some reports have accused the British media of stirring trouble.