FIFA acted quickly and on Thursday and slapped Uruguay striker Luis Suarez with a lengthy suspension for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini.
Suarez was banned four months from all football related activity and was also suspended for nine international matches after a review of the highly-publicized incident by the disciplinary committee of the governing body.
Uruguay won Tuesday’s Group D game to qualify for the last 16 but will now need to do it without their top player.
The nation’s football association said they will appeal the decision. It was also reported on Thursday that the Uruguayan delegation is considering a boycott of Saturday’s Round of 16 match versus Colombia.
Claudio Sulser, chairman of the FIFA disciplinary committee, made the following statement to the media:
“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,”
Suarez who has been suspended on two previous occasions for biting opponents, approached Chiellini from behind in Tuesday’s match while the two jostled for position in Italy’s penalty area. Then came another disgusting display of sportsmanship as Suarez lowered his jaw into his opponents’ shoulder and bit him as reverse angle television replays revealed.
The offence was not spotted by referee Marco Rodriguez or his crew. Chiellini immediately ran up to the Mexican Primera League official, pulled down his shirt and showed him the bite marks on his shoulder.
Meanwhile photos of the bite marks and incident went viral on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites immediately following the incident.
The Azzurri bench was enraged at the biting incident and several other calls by Rodriguez and his crew as the defeat officially eliminated Italy from the tournament.
One of Italy’s assistant coaches was eventually shown a red card after his protests continued for several minutes after the incident as the physical play continued to escalate.
Suarez would not confirm or deny the bite in a report by ESPN on Tuesday.
“These are just things that happen out on the pitch. It was just the two of us inside the area and he bumped into me with his shoulder, and that’s how my eye got like this as well. There are things that happen on the pitch and you should not make such a big deal out of them.” ~ Luis Suarez, Uruguay striker
After the match Chiellini countered he had indeed been bitten by Suarez.
“It was absolutely clear. There is even a mark,” said Chiellini.
Later in a BBC interview he pushed FIFA to act.
“I’d love to see if FIFA has the courage to use the video evidence against him. The referee saw the bit mark, but he did nothing about it. ” Giorgio Chiellini, Italy defender
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez told members of the media he didn’t see the alleged bite and declined to comment about the incident.
“If it happened, the referee probably didn’t see it,” Tabarez said in a report by MSNBC.
SEE WHAT ACTION OUR READERS THOUGHT FIFA SHOULD TAKE :
What penalty should FIFA give Uruguay striker Luis Suarez for biting opponent Giorgio Chiellini of Italy at the World Cup?
- A Three match suspension (21%, 287 Votes)
- No Penalty, he is not guilty of the offence (23%, 316 Votes)
- Lifetime ban from the game (33%, 454 Votes)
- Suspended from the entire World Cup and a lengthy ban (39%, 538 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,371
This isn’t the first biting incident Suarez was involved in and two highly-publicized incidents proceeded the latest. In April of 2013 the Liverpool forward received a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea opponent Branislav Ivanovic in an English Premier League game.
Referee Kevin Friend’s response was that he didn’t see the bite happen so he couldn’t make decision.
The first documented attack by Suarez occurred in 2010 when he bit PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal, while playing for Ajax in a Dutch first division match, and received a seven-match ban.