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 On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Argentina, US Creditors Fail to Reach Deal; Default Imminent

This will mark the second time in 13 years Argentina has defaulted on its debt
More

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Officials grapple with ways to deal with problem, provide shelter for thousands of minors among illegal border crossers
More

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Legal school segregation ended in the US 60 years ago, but research project finds it still occurs based on income and race
More

Cuban Tourism Industry Stalls in 2013; Up 3.9 Percent Through June

Statistics seen as latest indication of general slowdown in country's economy
More

Video US Senate Advances Bill to Address Border Crisis

Legislation would authorize funds to house, process tens of thousands of undocumented Central American minors arriving at southern border, but faces many hurdles
More

Urbanization Can Bring Health Risks

Researchers warn of increase in heart disease, diabetes
More