Photo: Luis Suarez
FIFA confirmed that it has launched disciplinary action against Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez over an apparent biting incident during his team’s World Cup Group D match against Italy, and it has given the player and the national squad until late Wednesday afternoon to present their side of the story.
“FIFA can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the player Luis Suarez of Uruguay following an apparent breach of art. 48 and/or art. 57 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code during (Tuesday’s) 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil match Italy-Uruguay,” soccer’s governing body said in a statement Wednesday.
Suarez and/or the Uruguayan soccer federation have until 5:00 p.m. Brasilia time to “provide their position and any documentary evidence they deem relevant,” FIFA added.
Mexican referee Marco Antonio Rodriguez did not penalize Suarez for apparently biting Italian center back Giorgio Chiellini in the 80th minute of Uruguay’s 1-0 victory, a result that sent the South American squad into the knockout stage and eliminated the Azurri.
FIFA noted, however, that its Disciplinary Committee “is responsible for sanctioning serious infringements which have escaped the match officials’ attention.”
During the 1994 World Cup in the United States, FIFA handed down a seven-match ban against Italy’s Mauro Tassotti for elbowing Spain’s Luis Enrique Martinez and breaking his nose during a quarterfinal match.
That decision was made based on video evidence after the official did not penalize Tassotti on the field.
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 Branko Ivanovic last year.
Although Chiellini pulled down his shirt and tried to show the referee apparent bite marks on his shoulder during Tuesday’s match in the northeastern city of Natal, Suarez downplayed the incident and said nothing out of the ordinary occurred.
“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,” the striker, who fell to the ground and held his teeth after the play, said afterward.
Suarez, 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.
Uruguay will face off against Colombia Saturday in a round of 16 match in Rio de Janeiro.