Suarez and Uruguay sweat ahead of FIFA ruling on bite

Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:00am EDT
 
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By William Schomberg and Mike Collett

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Soccer's governing body FIFA has not yet decided whether to expel Uruguay striker Luis Suarez from the World Cup for biting an opponent with deliberations set to continue on Thursday.

Uruguay FA president Wilmar Valdez told reporters in Rio de Janeiro that FIFA's disciplinary committee had not reached a decision on the case at a meeting on Wednesday and would continue deliberations on Thursday.

The incident in Uruguay's 1-0 victory over Italy in Natal on Tuesday has brought the ugly side of the game to the fore, marring a tournament that has been widely praised for its attacking football and major upsets.

Suarez's lawyer, Alejandro Balbi, flew to Rio de Janeiro with Uruguay FA chief Wilmar Valdez to lay out the player's defense, although the consensus among those who have seen replays of the incident is that the forward's future at the tournament is in serious jeopardy.

The disciplinary committee must rule on whether or not Suarez is guilty. Uruguay has up to four more games to play in Brazil, and any ban would probably rule the player out of the finals.

Balbi, Suarez's team and the Uruguayan public generally believe that the forward has been unfairly singled out in what they call a "manhunt" against a player whose chequered career has seen him banned twice before for biting.

"We don't have any doubts that this has happened because it's Suarez and secondly because Italy was eliminated," said Balbi, who is also a Uruguay FA board member, before he left for Brazil. "There's a lot of pressure from England and Italy."

Uruguay defender Diego Lugano said the incident had been blown out of proportion, and that other potentially more dangerous fouls had been committed in other games.   Continued...

 
Italy's Giorgio Chiellini shows his shoulder June 24, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Barria