22 Apr 2013

Luis Suarez charged with violent conduct for biting player

The Football Association charges Liverpool striker Luis Suarez with violent conduct for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic and says the standard three-match ban “is clearly insufficient”.

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.

“Suarez has until 6pm on Tuesday 23 April to respond to the charge, thereafter an Independent Regulatory Commission will be convened this Wednesday, 24 April.”

Suarez, who has been fined by Liverpool, has requested that the money should be donated to the Hillsborough Family Support Group.

The bite took place during a Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea on Sunday.

Luis Suarez scored a stoppage time equaliser in the 2-2 draw. But he also seized Branislav Ivanovic’s forearm before sinking his teeth into it, as television replays clearly show.

The 26-year-old revealed he was fined by the club and asked that the money be donated to the Hillsborough Family Support Group. The group marked the 24th anniversary of the tragedy with a service at Anfield last Monday at which Suarez was present with his team-mates.

Suarez the ‘cannibal’

The bite on Sunday was bad enough, but it is not the first time the 26-year-old has put his gnashers into action on the pitch. He was previously banned in the Netherlands after biting the neck of PSV’s Otman Bakkal while playing for Ajax in 2010.

The Daily Mirror’s back page headline referred to Suarez as “The Kop Cannibal” – a description also used by the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph. Both papers also suggested it was time that Liverpool parted company with the controversial striker.

Suarez apologised for the incident on Twitter – twice (see below). His club also issued an “unreserved apology”, saying Suarez’s behaviour was “not befitting of any player wearing a Liverpool shirt”.

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre said in the statement. “We will deal with the matter internally and await any action from the FA.”

Professional Footballers’ Association chairman Gordon Taylor also was critical of the forward.

“It is very depressing and embarrassing that it should happen,” he told BBC Sport. “If it wasn’t for all the controversies he’s been involved in he would be a more highly regarded player. Players are role models and are highly rewarded. This sets such a bad example.”

Past offences

Suarez leads the Premier League’s scoring charts with 23 goals. But he has also proven a liability for the Anfield club and others.

In 2007, he was dismissed during his debut for Uruguay against Colombia, for two offences on the pitch while in November of the same year, he was suspended by Ajax for getting into a fight with his team mate Albert Luque in the dressing room.

More recently in October 2011, he was banned for eight matches after Manchester United defender Patrice Evra claimed that Suarez dished out repeated racial abuse during a match.

There have been calls from some quarters for the Anfield club to sack the star striker, who was last week shortlisted for the professional footballers’ association player of the year award. But former Liverpool winger John Barnes branded such talk as “ridiculous”.

“He has to suffer the consequences of his actions – that’s all he has to do,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“I’ve heard talk about him not playing for Liverpool again, which I think is ridiculous. I’ve heard talk about him bringing the good name of Liverpool down, which is also ridiculous – he’s brought his own good name down. If you’re saying because of what he’s done he should never play for Liverpool again, who should he play for?”