Uruguay's Suárez Facing Substantial FIFA Ban After Allegedly Biting Italy's Chiellini
Uruguay striker Luis Suárez "faces being sent home from the World Cup in disgrace" after FIFA charged the Liverpool striker with biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini, according to Bonnici, Cue, Barrett & Hawkey of the LONDON TIMES. Suárez could receive a ban of up to 24 int'l matches, "which would keep him out of Uruguay’s remaining matches in Brazil." Suárez’s club, Liverpool, is "making no comment" while the FIFA investigation continues. Although the incident was missed by Marco Rodríguez, the match referee, FIFA’s disciplinary committee "has taken retrospective action only hours after Uruguay’s controversial 1-0 group D win over Italy in Natal." FIFA said, “Fifa can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the player Luis Suárez of Uruguay." FIFA VP & Referees Chief Jim Boyce added that Suárez’s "actions have left him open to severe criticism" as he called on FIFA to "investigate the incident seriously and take whatever disciplinary action deemed necessary" (LONDON TIMES, 6/25). REUTERS' William Schomberg wrote FIFA spokesperson Delia Fischer said the Disciplinary Committee's proceedings were still at "an early stage" and she said that "FIFA would not comment on possible outcomes or any potential punishments for Suárez." Fischer: "We will get an update to you later today or tomorrow or whenever they take their decision." The Disciplinary Committee "has asked Uruguay to send documentation relating to the case" by 5pm local time on Wednesday (REUTERS, 6/25). In London, Tom Lutz wrote the incident occurred "with the score at 0-0." Suárez "leaned into Chiellini before appearing to bite his opponent’s shoulder." Suárez "defended himself on Uruguayan television after the match." Suárez: "These situations happen on the pitch" (GUARDIAN, 6/25).
ON THE DEFENSIVE: FOOTBALL ITALIA reported the Uruguayan FA is "preparing an interesting approach" to its defense. Its lawyers will maintain the images of bite marks were "photoshopped" to make the incident look more serious than it was (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 6/25). REUTERS' Malena Castaldi reported Suárez's lawyer believes that "there is a European campaign against the controversial striker." Uruguay FA board member Alejandro Balbi, who is also Suárez's lawyer, said, "We don't have any doubts that this has happened because it's Suárez and secondly because Italy was eliminated" (REUTERS, 6/25).
FOOTBALL WORLD REACTS: In London, Jack de Menezes wrote former ManU player Paul Scholes said that handing Suárez a 10-match ban or suspending him from the remainder of the World Cup "would not be sufficient punishment." Scholes "blasted the striker," and feels that a lengthy ban -- longer than the 10 matches he received for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic -- "is the only way that the punishment can fit the crime." Another "controversial character" in Queens Park Rangers player Joey Barton expressed his view on what the alleged bite from Suárez was down to, which in his eyes "comes with the territory" of being a "winner." However, former Liverpool player Robbie Fowler believes that "the latest incident could signal the end" of Suárez’s career at Anfield. Fowler admitted that Suárez has left himself indefensible, and that what he did on Tuesday had left the ex-Reds striker "flummoxed" with the difference in his behavior on and off the pitch. With both Real Madrid and Barcelona linked with big-money moves for Suárez, "it remains to be seen whether the Merseyside club are now willing to part with a player who they fought tooth and nail to keep hold of last season, or whether his latest indiscretion has put off the Spanish club’s from pursuing their top transfer target" (INDEPENDENT, 6/25). In London, Mark Ogden wrote "armed soldiers patrolled Uruguay's team hotel in Natal" in the wake of the latest controversy surrounding Suárez. Individual guards "lined the outside of the hotel, with two truck loads of troops also parked outside the team base" (TELEGRAPH, 6/25).
AROUND THE GLOBE: The story received mixed coverage in newspapers globally. The Liverpool Echo splashed the Suárez story across its front page under the headline "He Needs Help." In Italy, most papers played up Italy's defeat in the game instead of the biting incident. In Uruguay, El Pais' front page featured a picture of jubilant Uruguay fans celebrating the club's victory in the street, with no mention of Suárez (SBD Global).