Liverpool are reportedly considering taking legal action against FIFA after the organization banned their star striker, Luis Suarez, from football for four months for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup game in Brazil.
According to the Times' Oliver Kay, via Sam Adams in the Mirror, the Reds are angry that the Uruguayan has been banned "from any football-related activities" despite being punished for an incident which took place playing for his national team.
The 27-year-old—who was the top scorer in the Premier League last season—stands to miss Liverpool's first nine games in the English top flight 2014-15 season, per Sky Sports News (h/t Betfair):
The Reds join the Uruguayan FA in considering challenging the legitimacy of the unprecedented ban, which also includes a nine-match international suspension and a 100,000 Swiss franc (£65,680) fine, per BBC Sport.
Suarez is preparing to appeal the punishment, while Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre has thus far made only a brief statement on the issue. Per the club's website: "Liverpool Football Club will wait until we have seen and had time to review the FIFA Disciplinary Committee report before making any further comment."
Is Suarez's ban unfair on Liverpool?
There has been much speculation before and after the recent events that Suarez could be on his way out of Merseyside this summer, with Barcelona and Real Madrid both reportedly interested in signing the player.
The Sun reports that Barca are still interested in acquiring his services, and they believe they can now get him at a cheaper price than previously thought:
It may prove to be in Liverpool's interest to offload Suarez despite his quality as a footballer. This is not the first time he has caused controversy while playing for Liverpool. During his time at Anfield he has previously served lengthy bans for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic and racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.
For now, however, it seems Liverpool are preparing to keep hold of their striker, as they would not be considering legal action if they were planning on cashing in on him.
While Suarez's bite was most certainly out of order, it does seem irregular for a player to be banned from club football while on international duty. But while Liverpool are understandably dismayed, the Sunday Times' Jonathan Northcroft suggests it should be with the player rather than FIFA:
Understand Liverpool's dismay. Banned while not on club duty. But if LFC are angry it should be with Suarez. He - not FIFA - let them down.— Jonathan Northcroft (@JNorthcroft) June 26, 2014
Liverpool will suffer hugely if Suarez does indeed miss their opening nine Premier League matches—as well as any cup matches that fall within the ban's time period—and it is unsurprising that they are questioning the issue.