News / Americas

Uruguay Divided on Bite as Suarez Faces FIFA Ban

Uruguay's Luis Suarez reacts after clashing with Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal, June 24, 2014.
Uruguay's Luis Suarez reacts after clashing with Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal, June 24, 2014.
Reuters

Troubled Uruguayan 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 Italian defender.

Italy's Giorgio Chiellini shows his shoulder, claiming he was bitten by Uruguay's Luis Suarez, during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal, June 24, 2014.Italy's Giorgio Chiellini shows his shoulder, claiming he was bitten by Uruguay's Luis Suarez, during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal, June 24, 2014.
x
Italy's Giorgio Chiellini shows his shoulder, claiming he was bitten by Uruguay's Luis Suarez, during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal, June 24, 2014.
Italy's Giorgio Chiellini shows his shoulder, claiming he was bitten by Uruguay's Luis Suarez, during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal, June 24, 2014.

A furious Giorgio said he had been bitten by Suarez during the South Americans' 1-0 Group D victory at the World Cup on Tuesday, and Reuters 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.

Luis Suarez Incidents

2013: Ten game ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic
2011: Eight game ban for racially abusive language toward Patrice Evra of Manchester United
2010: Seven game ban for biting PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal

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

FIFA said Suarez and the Uruguayan soccer association had until 5 p.m. Brasilia time (2000 GMT) on Wednesday 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 Italian 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 Uruguayan player attempted to calm the situation and pull the shirt back in place over the mark.

The Italians 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."

Suarez contested the Italian's version of events, however.

"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."

10-game ban

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 offence against PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal while playing for Ajax Amsterdam.

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 ban of a shorter duration.

Support at home

Opinion in Uruguay, a country of around three million people sandwiched between soccer powerhouses Argentina and Brazil, was divided over Suarez's latest antics.

The 27-year-old is regarded as something of a hero at home, having grown up in a poor family in the northwestern city of Salto, where he looked after parked cars to help support his siblings after his parents split up.

"We needed to win, so if you have to hit you hit, if you have to bite you bite," said Barbara Giordano, a 26-year-old law student in Montevideo.

Local media also complained about reaction to the incident round the world.

Leading newspaper El Pais honed in on what it called a "very tough" attitude from English media towards Suarez and highlighted that the player's apparent bruised eye did not receive much attention.

Some Uruguayans, however, were furious.

"This kid can't control his biting and attacking issues," said Luis Lara, a 52-year-old shopkeeper. "That makes all of us Uruguayans look bad."

On Wednesday morning, British newspapers offered a range of headlines reading "Chewy Luis," "Chew Dirty Rat," "Animal Suarez," "3 Bites and You're Out," "Kop Crisis as Suarez Faces Two-Year Ban for Sinking Teeth into Defender," "Kick Suarez Out of Finals, Says Chiellini," "Ban This Monster," and "Jaws III."

Suarez's indiscretion also sent the world's social media into meltdown and within minutes of the match ending #Suarez was one of the top-trending hash tags on Twitter.

A tweet from former Liverpool striker Michael Owen was typical of a wave of reaction from former players and pundits: "Tell me I'm seeing things. Surely Suarez didn't bite someone again?" he wrote. "I'm genuinely gutted. I love watching him play more than any other player but he obviously can't control himself."

Suarez, England's Footballer of the Year, scored both goals in Uruguay's 2-1 victory over England having missed the opening match as he recovered from knee surgery, and until the incident had kept control of his temper during a bruising game.

Sponsors review deal

Suarez risks losing lucrative commercial deals following his bite on a World Cup opponent, with poker brand 888 saying on Wednesday it was reviewing its sponsorship agreement with him. 

"Following the allegations made against Luis Suarez in regards to his behavior during Uruguay's World Cup match against Italy, 888poker is seriously reviewing its relationship with the player as we will not tolerate any unsporting behavior," 888poker said in a statement on Wednesday.

Suarez also has an endorsement deal with German sportswear company Adidas who have so far not commented on his behavior. He has also been advertising the Beats headphones worn by many of the world's top players.

Germany's Kahn, former biter, weighs in

Oliver Kahn, who once nibbled on the neck of a Bundesliga opponent and went after another with a kung-fu-style kick in the same game, believes he understands what is going on inside the head of the Uruguayan striker.

The former Germany goalkeeper escaped punishment for the twin outbursts against Borussia Dortmund in a 1999 Bundesliga match. A decade later Kahn admitted he was under so much strain at the time that he lost control.

"That kind of behavior is usually associated with animals," said Kahn of Suarez.

"In my mind, that's the wrong way to channel your internal tensions," added Kahn, who is now working as a pundit for Germany's ZDF television at the World Cup in Brazil.

"We saw in the last match [against England] that he was nearly crying. Perhaps that behaviour was a last desperate attempt to release some of the enormous pressure building up inside him and it was the only way to let some of the tension out. For me, there's no other explanation."

Kahn is remembered in Germany not only for his heroics for Bayern Munich, whom he led to the 2001 Champions League title, and his 86 caps for Germany, but also for nibbling on the neck of Dortmund's Heiko Herrlich and going after Stephane Chapuisat in the same match.

It took more than a decade for Kahn to admit that he made a mistake.

"That was the zenith of my aggression and it erupted inside of me," Kahn told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung in 2010.

Click here to check out our special World Cup site

Error rendering storify.

 

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: 1worldnow from: Earth
June 27, 2014 4:53 AM
I don't know what all the fuss is all about! I mean, this is the manliest sport in history with the biting, and scratching, and hair-pulling, slapping, eye-gouging, nose-picking..........oooops......I was thinking of Women's Golf!

by: Alex Kwasi Adevu from: Accra Adentan Ghana
June 25, 2014 11:50 AM
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
what can of human bean is this.so fifa can't u guys ban this notorious football forever ?

by: Concerned Citizen
June 25, 2014 9:24 AM
""We needed to win, so if you have to hit you hit, if you have to bite you bite," said Barbara Giordano, a 26-year-old law student in Montevideo."

I hope every law practice in Uruguay hears about this. It is shocking that someone who intends to pursue a career in law would hold such a belief. How can you uphold the law if your attitude is to do whatever it takes to win regardless of the fact that it's illegal?!?! This sort of person is just trouble waiting to happen even for a criminal defense law firm.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Scores Killed in Western Mexico Gunfight

Officials say almost every person killed in Michoacan state shootout was a suspected gang member
More

Latest US-Cuban Talks Ends in Washington

Both sides cite progress on restoring diplomatic ties, but no final agreement reached
More

Tutu Lends Support to Age Campaign

Help Age International has launched Action 2015 campaign
More

Colombia Kills 18 FARC Rebels

The bombing raid took place in the Cauca region of western Colombia
More

Lawmakers Question Normalization Effort With Cuba

On eve of next round of US-Cuba talks, Senator Bob Menendez calls engagement 'one-sided'
More

Chinese Premier Visits South America

Brazil is the first stop on Chinese premier Li’s tour of Latin America
More