FIFA hand Luis Suarez record nine-game ban
LUIS Suarez has been handed a record nine-game international ban and a four month football ban after Fifa found him guilty of biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini, making the sanction the biggest ever World Cup suspension in history.
Fifa confirmed the news at their morning briefing on Friday at the Maracana Stadium, where they also confirmed that Suarez will have to pay a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs (around £66,000).
The governing body also confirmed that while he can appeal the decision, the ban will start immediately, meaning Suarez's World Cup is over. Furthermore, Suarez cannot attend any football stadium for the duration of the ban, after Fifa confirmed that he has been suspended from taking part in "any kind of football-related activity".
The statement released by Fifa read: "The player Luis Suarez is to be suspended for nine official matches. The first match of this suspension is to be served in the upcoming FIFA World Cup fixture between Colombia and Uruguay on June 28, 2014. The remaining match suspensions shall be served in Uruguay's next FIFA World Cup match(es), as long as the team (remains in the competition), and/or in the representative team's subsequent official matches.
"The player Luis Suarez is banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) for a period of four months.
"A stadium ban is pronounced against the player Luis Suarez in accordance with article 21 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code as follows: the player Luis Suarez is prohibited from entering the confines of any stadium during the period of the ban.
"The player Luis Suarez is prohibited from entering the confines of any stadium in which the representative team of Uruguay is playing while he has to serve the nine-match suspension.
"The player Luis Suarez is ordered to pay a fine in the amount of 100,000 Swiss Francs."
Claudio Sulser, the chairman of the FIFA disciplinary committee, said at the briefing that the panel had taken into account all the factors in the case, including the "degree of his guilt", and confirmed that the ban starts immediately.
Sulser said: "Such behaviour cannot be tolerated on any football pitch, and in particular not at a Fifa World Cup when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field.
"The disciplinary committee took into account all the factors of the case and the degree of Mr Suarez's guilt in accordance with the relevant provisions of the dode. The decision comes into force as soon it is communicated."
The pair clashed in the 79th minute of the 1-0 victory that sent Uruguay through to the second round. Despite the fact that Chiellini exposed his shoulder to reveal clear bite marks, the Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez did not spot the incident, which Fifa launched an investigation into hours after the match. Uruguay were given until 5pm (9pm GMT) Thursday to present their defence.
As part of their defence of the 27-year-old striker, Alejandro Balbi, a board member of the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF), claimed that Suarez actually came off with worse injuries than his opponent. Balbi also claimed that Suarez was a victim of a conspiracy created by English, Italian and Brazilian media in an effort to rid the World Cup of the striker after he helped knock out the former two nations in Group D.
But Fifa have thrown the book at a player who has now been found guilty of biting on three separate occasions.