Thu, Jun 26, 2014 - Page 20 News List

WORLD CUP: FIFA probing Luis Suarez bite uproar

MIXED REACTION:Opinion in Uruguay was divided, with some saying you do anything to triumph, while others were angry, saying it made Uruguayans look bad

Reuters, NATAL, Brazil

Uruguay’s Luis Suarez, right, reacts after clashing with Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini in their FIFA World Cup Group D match at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, on Tuesday.

Photo: Reuters

Troubled Uruguay striker Luis Suarez looks almost certain to miss the rest of the World Cup after FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings against him following an evening of accusations he bit an Italy defender.

A furious Giorgio Chiellini said he had been bitten by Suarez during the South Americans’ 1-0 Group D victory on Tuesday and photographs showed what appeared to be bite marks on his shoulder.

Pictures also showed Suarez sitting on the ground holding his teeth immediately after the incident.

The probe means Suarez, twice previously banned for biting, looks set to be hit with another lengthy suspension, despite escaping punishment during the match.

“FIFA can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the player Luis Suarez of Uruguay,” world soccer’s governing body said in a statement late on Tuesday.

FIFA said Suarez and the Uruguay soccer association had until 5pm Brasilia time yesterday to “provide their position and any documentary evidence they deem relevant.”

FIFA is probing what it called an apparent breach of two articles of the organization’s disciplinary code. One covers infringements, and the other offensive behavior and fair play.

Suarez and Chiellini clashed in the Italy penalty area 10 minutes from the end of the match which sealed Uruguay’s progression and Italy’s elimination from the tournament.

Chiellini furiously pulled open his shirt to show the mark to the referee, while a Uruguay player attempted to calm the situation and pull the shirt back in place over the mark.

Italy were still complaining about it when Uruguay’s Diego Godin scored with an 81st-minute header to secure the win.

“It was ridiculous not to send Suarez off,” Chiellini told Rai TV. “It is clear, clear-cut, and then there was the obvious dive afterwards because he knew very well that he did something that he shouldn’t have done.”

However, Suarez contested Chiellini’s version of events.

“Those are situations that happen on the pitch. We were both just there inside the area. He shoved me with his shoulder and my eye got left like that also,” he said in reference to Chiellini’s mark.

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said he did not see the incident and complained that the forward was being persecuted.

“It seems there is this animosity toward him and he is being persecuted by past events,” a visibly agitated Tabarez said when repeatedly being asked about the alleged bite. “There are people hiding behind the tree waiting for something to happen.”

Liverpool’s Suarez was banned for 10 games last year after biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in a Premier League match and in 2010 he was suspended for seven games for a similar offense against PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal while playing for Ajax.

He missed Uruguay’s World Cup semi-final against the Netherlands four years ago after being sent off for a handball on the line that denied Ghana what would have been a match-winning goal in the final minute of extra-time.

FIFA’s rules allow the use of video or “any other evidence” to retrospectively punish players.

FIFA’s disciplinary code sets a maximum ban of 24 matches, or two years, but the longest suspension FIFA has imposed for an offense at a World Cup was eight games for Italy’s Mauro Tassotti for breaking Spain’s Luis Enrique’s nose in 1994 with an elbow.

Uruguay could potentially play four more games in the tournament and it would be a surprise if Suarez were to be given a shorter ban.

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