World Cup over for Suarez after record ban for biting

Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:25pm EDT
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By Mike Collett and William Schomberg

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Uruguay's Luis Suarez was hit with the longest ban imposed at a World Cup on Thursday as FIFA threw the book at one of soccer's most talented but controversial players for biting an opponent.

Suarez was suspended from all football-related activity for four months by the sport's governing body which also ruled he could not play in Uruguay's next nine competitive games, immediately ending his involvement in the World Cup in Brazil.

The ban means the striker is unlikely to appear in non-friendly matches for his country until 2016.

"He is totally distraught. He never thought the punishment would be so severe," said Alejandro Balbi who is a member of the Uruguayan Football Association's board and Suarez's lawyer.

The four-month ban means Suarez will have to sit out the first two months of the next English season and he will miss Liverpool's opening Premier League and Champions League matches.

"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," Claudio Sulser, chairman of FIFA's Disciplinary Committee, said.

The 27-year-old striker left his Uruguay team mates shortly after FIFA's announcement, depriving them of their most outstanding player two days before a do-or-die match against Colombia in the second round of the World Cup.

FIFA also fined Suarez 100,000 Swiss francs ($111,000) after 10 hours of deliberations by its Disciplinary Committee.   Continued...

Uruguay's Luis Suarez (R) reacts after clashing with Italy's Giorgio Chiellini June 24, 2014. The Italians were still complaining about the incident when Uruguay captain Diego Godin scored with an 81st-minute header to secure a 1-0 win that sent them into the second round and eliminated Italy. REUTERS/Tony Gentile