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Uruguay defends Suarez as FIFA scrambles

FIFA Opens Case on Suarez Bite Incident


RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -- As the world was judging Uruguay's Luis Suarez for biting a player in the World Cup, his teammates, coaches and fans in his soccer-crazy country defended the star, blaming the foreign media, his Italian opponents and uneven treatment.

World Cup organizers scrambled Wednesday to quickly decide on a punishment before Uruguay plays Colombia Saturday in the round of 16.

"We have to resolve it either today or tomorrow," FIFA disciplinary panel member Martin Hong told reporters Wednesday. "It's our duty to see justice done."

A day after he tangled with defender Giorgio Chiellini, Suarez was coping well, according to the Uruguay football federation president.

"Luis is fine. He's been through 1001 battles," Wilmar Valdez told the online site Tenfield.com. "We all know who Luis is and that's why we have to defend him."

The bite - just before Uruguay scored the clinching goal to eliminate the four-time champion Italians -will now test FIFA president Sepp Blatter's often-stated commitment to "fair play, discipline, respect."

Blatter, who was in the crowd for the Uruguay-Italy match at Natal, has pledged a zero tolerance for the darker side of the game.

Many are questioning where that leaves a player like Suarez, who has a history of disciplinary problems including separate bans of seven and 10 matches for biting opponents in the Netherlands and England.

Valdez said Uruguay officials were sent a video of the incident by FIFA, and would respond with footage showing Suarez - a striker for Liverpool and last season's player of the year in England's Premier League - as a victim of Italian aggression.

"When he falls, several substitutes insult him on the ground and some members of Italy's staff even came out of the bench to try to hit him," Valdez said, suggesting FIFA could investigate Italy.

Uruguay also will cite Brazil star Neymar getting only a yellow card in a clash with a Croatia player, Valdez said.

Uruguay federation board member Alejandro Balbi, who is Suarez's lawyer, blamed European media reporting.

"This happened because there have been campaigns launched by the media in England and Italy," Balbi told Uruguayan radio Sport 890.

Suarez's teammate Diego Lugano agreed.

"The British media has a vendetta against Suarez, and everyone knows that," he said. "It's obvious the vendetta sells newspapers in England, otherwise you wouldn't be here. Uruguay and Italy played yesterday. On Saturday Uruguay plays Colombia, I don't know why there's a British journalist asking about Suarez."

Lugano said he had seen "much more violent plays" than the bite at the World Cup.

"It was a normal taunt in football, and the world press ends up talking about something totally trivial," he said.

FIFA's case against Suarez - announced early Wednesday - will be managed by a Swiss lawyer, Claudio Sulser, chairman of the FIFA disciplinary committee. A former international forward himself, Sulser has worked for four years at FIFA, first as head of its ethics court.

Sulser can choose to judge the offense within the scale of typical red-card incidents: A three-match ban may then be appropriate, banishing Suarez at least until the World Cup final should Uruguay advance that far.

The maximum penalty would be a ban of 24 international matches.

FIFA can also choose to ban Suarez for up to two years. That would cover club and international games and would ruin a widely speculated transfer to Barcelona or Real Madrid.

Suarez and the Uruguay football federation had until 5 p.m. local time Wednesday (4 p.m. EDT/2000 GMT) to present a documented defense.

Completing the case ahead of Saturday's match could be complicated if Suarez appeals. That challenge could go direct to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland for an urgent and binding ruling.

However, one option open to FIFA and Sulser to avoid that scenario is that a suspension of "fewer than three matches or of up to two months" cannot be appealed, according to FIFA rules.

Already, one of Suarez's sponsors said it was "reviewing our relationship with him."

"We will not tolerate unsporting behavior," 888poker said in a Twitter message.

Last month, the firm announced a global endorsement contract with Suarez, a poker enthusiast.

adidas, which also has Suarez as a client and is FIFA's longest standing World Cup sponsor, said it was monitoring the case.

Meanwhile, Suarez was criticized by a Uruguay football great Alcides Ghiggia, the last survivor of the team which defeated Brazil to win the 1950 World Cup.

Suarez "plays well but he has done things that are not normal for a player nor for a soccer game," Ghiggia told The AP. "I think FIFA can sanction him."


AP Sports Writer Rob Harris in Rio de Janeiro and Associated Press writer Leonardo Haberkorn in Montevideo, Uruguay, contributed to this report

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
bigjohn8464 June 25 2014 at 9:11 PM

Suarez is a disgrace to the sport. The biting was obviously intentional and falling down afterwards trying to pretend he was the one injured puts the icing on the cake. Third strike, your out! Lifetime ban, anything less would be a joke.

Flag Reply +16 rate up
1 reply
HI BEAUTIFUL bigjohn8464 June 26 2014 at 12:13 AM

Yup, and muzzle him any time he is in a public place. If they let him play,he needs to wear it on the field.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
torp8r June 25 2014 at 8:27 PM

I didn't like soccer before this. AND I like it LESS now ! His team is going to defend this guy ?? Have they seen the video ? This clown should be banned for life !!!

Flag Reply +13 rate up
4 replies
teresitagimenez June 25 2014 at 9:11 PM

If Zidane was banned for life for head butting, Suarez should be banned for two lifetimes for biting - and for the thrd time at that.

Flag Reply +13 rate up
1 reply
Paddy teresitagimenez June 26 2014 at 5:15 AM

Zidane retired he was not banned. Suarez should at least be suspended for 24 matches.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
RENZO GENTILE June 25 2014 at 9:15 PM

zero tolerence means suspention for life for a repeted violance violation of the law

Flag Reply +11 rate up
froylan June 25 2014 at 8:43 PM

I can not believe that the Uruguayan Federation is defending this freak!!!
what a shame on them!!

Flag Reply +11 rate up
1 reply
jechandle froylan June 25 2014 at 9:31 PM

That's because some people value winning over human dignity. It's an epidemic in much of our culture that we need to fix.
How about this solution?
Go back, and resume the match from the time of the biting incident with Suarez being sent off thus taking Uruguay down to 10 men as well, and play the match out.
Italy would be more than happy to play on short rest with an opportunity to move on, and Uruguay will just have to consider it just desserts.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
knarfdr June 25 2014 at 9:13 PM

Time for this idiot to go, for good.

Flag Reply +10 rate up
1 reply
HI BEAUTIFUL knarfdr June 26 2014 at 12:14 AM

Pull his teeth out if he can't keep them in his mouth.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Mary Frank June 25 2014 at 8:56 PM

I find it interesting that they are blaming it on the media. The media did not go out there and bite someone HE did.. He should be banned for life. Enough is enough... he asks like a 5 year old.. and with his huge over bite and big front teeth he can do some serious damage!!

Flag Reply +9 rate up
Walter Ganieany June 25 2014 at 9:48 PM

This guy should be banned for life now, 3 bites and your out law!!!! As for his team mates defending him, you've lost the respect of the entire world wide soccer community.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
gabourque June 25 2014 at 9:05 PM

He is a looser poor sport and a shame to his country pull his teeth out.... might make him more of a man..instead of the looser he is....discrace to the sport

Flag Reply +7 rate up
emmett June 25 2014 at 9:48 PM

This is Suarez third 'biting' offense. This guy is a serious hazard to other players. He has a deranged psychological flaw that will ruin the sport if he is not suspended indefinitely. If he isn't, players he has bitten or others should make a successful attempt to knock his teeth out .

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
HI BEAUTIFUL emmett June 26 2014 at 12:18 AM

No suspension, kick him out for good !!!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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