Photo: Luis Suarez
FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee on Thursday suspended Uruguayan star striker Luis Suarez for nine matches after he bit an Italian player during World Cup Group D action this week, ending his participation in soccer’s main international showcase.
Suarez bit Italian center back Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder as the two players battled for the ball in the second half of the teams’ final round-robin game, played Tuesday in the northeastern city of Natal.
Uruguay won 1-0 to advance to a round-of-16 clash Saturday against Colombia, while Italy was eliminated from the World Cup with the loss.
The committee’s statement said Suarez “is regarded as having breached art. 48 par. 1 lit. d of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC) (assault), and art. 57 of the FDC (an act of unsporting behavior towards another player).”
The player “is to be suspended for nine official matches. The first match of this suspension is to be served in the upcoming FIFA World Cup fixture between Colombia and Uruguay.”
“The remaining match suspensions shall be served in Uruguay’s next FIFA World Cup match(es), as long as the team qualifies, and/or in the representative team’s subsequent official matches.”
Suarez also is banned from taking part in any kind of soccer-related activity - administrative, sports or any other - for four months in accordance with art. 22 of the FDC, the statement said.
In addition, the player must pay a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs (82,200 euros or $111,700) and may not enter the confines of any World Cup stadium for the duration of the sanction, soccer’s international governing body, which is based in Zurich, said.
FIFA said Wednesday that it had launched disciplinary action and given the player and the Uruguayan national squad until late that afternoon to present its position in the incident.
Mexican referee Marco Antonio Rodriguez did not see the incident and did not penalize Suarez during match; the on-field official also ignored Chiellini’s request that he examine his shoulder for bite marks.
FIFA noted, however, that its Disciplinary Committee “is responsible for sanctioning serious infringements which have escaped the match officials’ attention.”
Suarez, a Liverpool star who was voted by his peers as English soccer’s player of the year for the 2013-2014 season, has been suspended on two other occasions for biting during club-level matches in Europe, including a 10-match ban for sinking his teeth into Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic last year.
The striker, who recovered in time from minor knee surgery to compete in the World Cup, did not play in Uruguay’s 3-1 loss to Costa Rica. But he was a major factor in its second round-robin match, scoring both of his squad’s goals in a 2-1 win over England.