Updates from Thursday, June 26
FIFA confirmed Luis Suarez's punishment on Thursday:
DISCIPLINARY: Uruguay’s Luis Suarez suspended for 9 matches & banned for 4 months from any football-related activity.— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) June 26, 2014
It was previously confirmed a verdict on Luis Suarez's alleged bite was expected on Thursday as FIFA's investigation into the high-profile World Cup incident stretches into a second day.
BBC Sport previously quoted Uruguayan FA president Wilmar Valdez, who confirmed: "They met for a long time but we don't know if that is good or bad. They will continue in the morning."
Owen Gibson of the Guardian previously provided expectations for both the timeline and conclusion of the hearing, chaired by Claudio Sulser:
Senior Fifa insiders, while stressing that Sulser’s committee is independent, said they expected at least a six-game ban for Suárez. Any sanction greater than three matches or two months leaves open the prospect of an appeal.
Fifa promised to resolve the case “urgently” given Uruguay’s looming last-16 clash with Colombia in Rio on Saturday and said it was up to Sulser’s committee whether to take previous incidents into account when deciding the sanction.
The Daily Mirror's Ed Malyon previously reported that Uruguay believe the ban could be as few as four games, but former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher believes a much sterner punishment is necessary.
Carragher, writing for the Daily Mail, insisted Suarez needs a lengthy layoff from international football, but is also adamant that the striker should not miss one game for Liverpool:
I have thought about it and believe the biggest way to hurt him would have been for FIFA to suspend him for the rest of the World Cup and then ban him for a calendar year, which would rule him out of Uruguay’s Copa America defence in Chile next summer.
People are calling for a worldwide ban but I don’t think Liverpool should be punished. Uruguay didn’t suffer when he served the Ivanovic ban, did they?
Most Uruguayans remain in support of Suarez, but Alcides Ghiggia—the last survivor of the successful 1950 Uruguay team—has voiced public condemnation of the Liverpool forward.
Quoted by the Telegraph, Ghiggia said:
This boy's clearly not right in the head. That's just not something you do on the pitch. I think Fifa can sanction him.
He already did it before in England and now he's done it again. It's abnormal. It's a football match – not a war or a fight.
Updates from Wednesday, June 25
James Masters of CNN has the latest on Suarez from his lawyer:
Suarez lawyer on #URU radio: "We don't have any doubts that this has happened because it's Suarez and secondly because Italy was eliminated,— James Masters (@Masters_JamesD) June 25, 2014
Suarez lawyer adds on radio: "There's a lot of pressure from England and Italy. We're polishing off a defence argument." #URU— James Masters (@Masters_JamesD) June 25, 2014
Suarez lawyer 1/2: "There is a possibility that they ban him, because there are precedents, but we're convinced that it was an absolutely— James Masters (@Masters_JamesD) June 25, 2014
2/2 casual play, because if Chiellini can show a scratch on one shoulder, Suarez can show a bruised and almost shut eye."— James Masters (@Masters_JamesD) June 25, 2014
Suarez lawyer: "You shouldn't forget that we're rivals of many and we can be for the organiser (hosts Brazil) in the future. 1/2— James Masters (@Masters_JamesD) June 25, 2014
Suarez lawyer 2/2 "This does not go against what might have happened, but there's no doubt that Suarez is a rock in the shoe for many."— James Masters (@Masters_JamesD) June 25, 2014
Suarez lawyer to #URU radio: "We're going to use all the arguments possible so that Luis gets out in the best possible way."— James Masters (@Masters_JamesD) June 25, 2014
BBC Sport provides Uruguay teammate Diego Lugano's take on the incident:
Uruguay captain Diego Lugano denies Luis Suarez bit Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini.
The former West Brom defender told the BBC: "What incident? The pictures don't show anything. They show an approximation."
Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez has been cited for biting opponents in the past, and it is possible that the polarizing star committed another such act during the 80th minute of Tuesday's World Cup Group D finale against Italy.
With Italy playing a man down and trying to hold on for a draw to advance to the knockout round, Suarez and Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini got tangled up in the Azzurri's box.
Suarez held his mouth while Chiellini nursed his shoulder. After closer review, it appeared as though Suarez may have bitten Chiellini, although the replays were inconclusive.
However, FIFA announced that it will look into the incident:
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 the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ match Italy-Uruguay played on 24 June 2014. The player and/or the Uruguayan FA are invited to provide with their position and any documentary evidence they deem relevant until 25 June 2014, 5pm, Brasilia time.
According to art. 77 lit. a of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC), the FIFA Disciplinary Committee is responsible for sanctioning serious infringements which have escaped the match officials’ attention. Furthermore, according to art. 96 of the FDC, any type of proof may be produced (par. 1), in particular are admissible, reports from referees, declarations from the parties and witnesses, material evidence, audio or video recordings (par. 3).
SportsCenter has more on the length of a potential ban:
THIS JUST IN: FIFA charges Luis Suarez for biting opponent. If found guilty, rules call for minimum ban of 2 matches, maximum of 24 months.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 25, 2014
As seen in this photo courtesy of The Guardian's James Dart, Chiellini appealed to the referee and attempted to prove that he had been bitten:
A closeup photo from former soccer star Gary Lineker appears to show possible bite marks:
Bite marks? pic.twitter.com/lFHFpRaazq— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 24, 2014
Following the match, FIFA announced it will investigate the incident (via Martyn Ziegler of the Press Association):
FIFA announce will investigate Suarez biting incident: "will gather all the necessary elements in order to evaluate the matter"— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) June 24, 2014
Suarez commented on the incident with Uruguayan media (via Football Italia):
“These things happen in the box,” Suarez was quoted as telling Uruguayan media.
“We were in contact, chest against shoulder, and I got a knock to the eye.”
Chiellini was beside himself regarding the referee's decision, according to Simon Evans of Reuters:
Chiellini just confirmed the bite to RAI. "It was clear-cut. It was ridiculous not to send him off"— Simon Evans (@sgevans) June 24, 2014
He added, per Sky Sport Italia, via Football Italia:
It was absolutely shameful. The game was decided by the referee and if one team should’ve gone through it was us. Sending Marchisio off and not carding Suarez was decisive. There were other incidents and a different treatment in the first half too.
As long as we had 11 men, we were in control and Uruguay were never dangerous. Obviously with 10 men in the last half-hour it was tough and we suffered, then were punished by a set play.
Suarez is a sneak and he gets away with it because FIFA want their stars to play in the World Cup. I’d love to see if they have the courage to use video evidence against him. The referee saw the bite mark too, but he did nothing about it.
BBC's Ben Smith shared Uruguay manager Oscar Tabarez's reaction to the incident:
Uruguay manager Oscar Tabarez says he has not seen the Suarez bite. He also claims I have an agenda against the player ...— Ben Smith (@BenSmithBBC) June 24, 2014
Jeff Carlisle of ESPN shared more from Tabarez:
Uruguay captain Diego Lugano also spoke about Suarez and Chiellini (via Jeff Carlisle of ESPN):
Uruguay captain Diego Lugano (translated): "You have to be stupid to think that mark on Chiellini is from today." #ITAvsURU— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) June 24, 2014
Suarez was not disciplined, but that could change if anything is proven. After all, Suarez has twice bitten opponents in the past, including Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in 2013.
The Liverpool star issued an apology following that incident; he has not yet spoken about Tuesday's controversy:
Hello to everyone, I wanted to share this statement with all of you. Thanks for your support pic.twitter.com/pzXKiuaJcr— Luis Suarez (@luis16suarez) April 26, 2013
The reaction came fast and furious from several high-profile athletes and celebrities on social media.
United States Women's National Team star Alex Morgan was grateful that she hasn't encountered a female equivalent to Suarez:
So glad we don't have a biter in the women's game. #ouch— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) June 24, 2014
Former Queens Park Rangers and Manchester City star Rodney Marsh provided his two cents as well and called for a lengthy ban:
Just seen super slo mo. Suarez needs psychological evaluation... Minimum 12 game world ban..— Rodney Marsh (@RodneyMarsh10) June 24, 2014
Marsh is far from the only one who wants swift and significant discipline to be levied against Suarez. ESPN's Todd Grisham believes Suarez's World Cup should be over:
Luis Suarez HAS to be banned for the rest of the World Cup. No other punishment is acceptable.— Todd Grisham (@GrishamESPN) June 24, 2014
The same goes for Josh Elliott of NBC Sports:
Just caught up via DVR. Luis Suarez is an embarrassment. Which is sad, because he's also a great player--whose Cup should be over. #URUvITA— Josh Elliott (@JoshElliott32) June 24, 2014
As serious of an incident as this was, it has already led to plenty of jokes at Suarez's expense. Former CNN personality Piers Morgan searched for answers regarding Suarez's seemingly insatiable taste for flesh:
Does Suarez not eat before games?— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) June 24, 2014
Yahoo's Jason O. Gilbert provided a food quip of his own:
To be fair to Luis Suarez, I can’t resist an Italian sub either.— Jason O. Gilbert (@gilbertjasono) June 24, 2014
McDonald's even got in on the act, sending a tweet to Suarez from the company's Uruguay account (via Fox Sports):
The vampire jokes inevitably flooded in as well with Los Angeles Galaxy player Daniel Gargan suggesting a potential television role for Suarez:
ESPN's Jeremy Schaap related the controversy to Mike Tyson infamously biting Evander Holyfield's ear in a boxing match:
17 years from now, Suarez and Chiellini will make a documentary together, like Tyson and Holyfield...— Jeremy Schaap (@JeremySchaap) June 24, 2014
Uruguay picked up the win thanks to a Diego Godin header, but they may be without Suarez moving forward. The Suarez situation is so controversial that it has essentially overshadowed a massive victory, per BBC's Ben Smith:
Uruguay through, Italy out of the World Cup. All the focus is, however, on Luis Suarez, who appeared to bite an opponent. Madness— Ben Smith (@BenSmithBBC) June 24, 2014
Suarez is unquestionably one of the best players in the world, but his behavior on the pitch has gotten the better of him on too many occasions.
FIFA has to be sure that Suarez bit Chiellini to take any action; however, his track record certainly doesn't bode well for his fate.
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