Monday, April 22, 2013
FA charges Liverpool's Suarez for bite
LONDON -- Luis Suarez was charged by England's Football Association, fined by Liverpool, and even rebuked by the government on Monday for biting an opponent a day earlier.
In a Premier League match broadcast globally on Sunday, Suarez bit Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic's arm. Although he escaped punishment during the game, Suarez now faces a lengthy ban.
"The incident was not seen by the match officials and has therefore been retrospectively reviewed," the FA said in a statement. "It is alleged that the conduct of Suarez constitutes violent conduct, and it is the FA's contention that the standard punishment of three matches that would otherwise apply is clearly insufficient in these circumstances."
The sum was undisclosed, but clubs can only fine players two weeks' worth of wages without seeking permission from the Professional Footballers' Association. Suarez said he wants money to be donated to families affected by the 1989 Hillsborough Stadium disaster, which killed 96 Liverpool fans.
Suarez was previously suspended for seven matches in 2010 while playing for Ajax after biting a player. Trouble followed Suarez to Liverpool, and he was suspended for eight games in December 2011 for making racist insults toward Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during a Premier League match.
Liverpool moved swiftly to condemn Suarez this time after the club faced widespread outrage for defending the striker when he racially abused an opponent in 2011.
"The most important thing is that we acted swiftly yesterday," Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre said. "Luis issued his apology and then we spoke with him last night and then again this morning ... you can see when you speak to him how sorry he is about it and he's certainly shown quite a lot of contrition to us."
With his scoring spree this season, Suarez had been starting to rehabilitate his damaged reputation.
His penchant for diving aside, even his critics had been starting to warm to one of the world's most gifted players.
And this weekend he could collect the Player of the Year award decided by his fellow footballers after making the shortlist based on a PFA vote completed before Sunday's incident.
Liverpool insisted Monday that Suarez's future at the club has not been harmed by his latest high-profile misdemeanor.
"It affects his future in the sense that we have to work with him on his discipline, but Luis is a very important player to the club," Ayre said. "He's a very popular player with his teammates. As we keep saying, he signed a new four-year contract last summer and we'd all love to see him here throughout that contract.
"He's a fantastic player, top scorer and everything we'd want in a striker, so there's no change there. This is more about getting him back on the right track."
British Prime Minister David Cameron's office even got involved, saying it was "rightly a matter for the football authorities to consider."
"As part of their consideration, I think it would be very understandable if they took into account the fact that high-profile players are often role models," Cameron's office said.