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SBD Global/June 27, 2014/World Cup
FIFA Hands Uruguay Striker Luis Suárez Record Nine-Game Ban For Bite Incident
Published June 27, 2014
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LIVERPOOL BITES BACK: In Liverpool, James Pearce wrote the severity of Suárez's punishment "has sent shockwaves through Liverpool." Anfield officials "expected FIFA to throw the book at the Uruguay striker." However, they believed that "the inevitable hefty suspension would apply only to international football." News that he will be banned from all football for four months "is a devastating blow for the Reds." Suárez will not only miss Liverpool’s first nine Premier League games, "but three Champions League group matches and a Capital One Cup tie." The implications for the Reds ahead of the '14-15 campaign "are immense." CEO Ian Ayre and manager Brendan Rodgers "find themselves locked in emergency talks to decide how you deal with a problem" like Suárez (LIVERPOOL ECHO, 6/26). In London, Oliver Kay reported Liverpool joined the Uruguayan FA "in considering legal action against Fifa." Ayre said that Liverpool "will wait until they have read a full report from Fifa’s disciplinary committee before deciding on their next step, but there is already a strong and growing sense of anger at Suárez’s punishment." They are "particularly unhappy that an incident that occurred during Fifa competition, for which Suárez had been released by his club, could result in suspension at club level" (LONDON TIMES, 6/27).
ANGER IN URUGUAY: In London, Malena Castaldi wrote Uruguayans "were incensed" on Thursday after FIFA suspended Suárez "with many slamming the ban as exaggerated, hypocritical, or even biased." Suárez "is synonymous with controversy in much of the world." But in small, football-crazed Uruguay, "the Liverpool forward is a rags-to-riches hero that his compatriots have passionately defended." Local media "have lashed out at a British-led 'manhunt' against him," and even Uruguayan President Jose Mujica spoke up for Suarez to be left alone (EVENING STANDARD, 6/26).
FIFA STAYS TRUE TO FORM: In London, Owen Gibson opined FIFA has used this World Cup "as a platform to project its simplistic, brazen moral mission to the world." It "can be seen around the perimeter of pitches, in advertising breaks during matches and most strikingly in the bizarre paean to world peace that now precedes every match." The message: "racism is bad, fair play is good and Fifa is working for a better world." So when Luis Suárez "sank his teeth into the shoulder of Giorgio Chiellini," FIFA President Sepp Blatter knew that "it was an incident that could undermine the carefully constructed rhetoric that he has honed in his scandal-hit years as Fifa president" (GUARDIAN, 6/26).
DEFENDING HIS CHARACTER: Also in London, Henry Winter opined Suárez "is not a monster." Talk to people at Anfield, from Rodgers to Steven Gerrard to behind-the-scenes staff, and they speak of an employee as humble as he is popular, a family man, "a highly intelligent man off the field" in Rodgers’s view. It "is a sadness that a player with such a professional approach to his craft, with such sustained brilliance in creating chances for himself and others, is such a toxic liability at times." It "is him." It "is his problem." He "has to understand that" (TELEGRAPH, 6/25).