The Sport Matrix: Wednesday 24 April 2013

 

Suarez set to fight FA over increased ban for Anfield bite

Luis Suarez gave notification last night that he is ready to fight a lengthy Football Association ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic, by denying the FA’s claim that a standard three-match ban is insufficient given the extraordinary nature of the incident.

Suarez, above, did accept the FA’s charge of violent conduct following the clash with Ivanovic during Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Anfield on Sunday. The Liverpool forward was clearly seen biting the arm of the Chelsea defender in the second half and has accepted a fine by his club and offered an apology to Ivanovic.

However, the FA’s statement last night gave warning that Suarez could contest any decision made by the Independent Regulatory Commission, which will today decide the player’s fate.

“Luis Suarez has accepted a charge of violent conduct, following an incident with Branislav Ivanovic in Sunday’s fixture,” the FA statement read. “However, Suarez has denied the FA’s claim that the standard punishment of three matches is clearly insufficient.” MORE

Bayern rout Barça and close on final

Bayern Munich have one foot in next month’s Champions League final after thrashing Barcelona 4-0 in last night’s semi-final first leg in Germany. Thomas Müller scored in either half, with Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben putting the Germans in control after the interval. MORE

Sprinter Sacre completes treble

Sprinter Sacre completed a trio of elite wins in taking the Champion Chase at Punchestown yesterday but was pushed all the way by Sizing Europe. The favourite won by just over five lengths to add to his Cheltenham and Aintree successes. MORE

Sport of kings faces its greatest crisis

It may be overstating matters to talk of the Turf’s “Lance Armstrong moment”. But nor can the scandal that convulsed the sport this week be dismissed as a mere vignette to sustain its picaresque traditions. MORE

Ferdinand revels in win with dig at City

Rio Ferdinand taken a swipe at deposed champions Manchester City after his United side reclaimed the title on Monday. “It’s always sweet,” he said of the Old Trafford win. “And it’s nice to do it here, in the right way and in style, not on goal difference [as City did last season].” MORE

Anderson is ready for Ashes sledging

James Anderson has admitted he is likely to indulge in sledging at some point during this summer’s Ashes. “If you’re trying to challenge people verbally it kind of just happens,” the England bowler said. “It’s not really a pre-planned thing.” MORE

SW19 to raise roof... and prize-money

Plans were announced yesterday for a retractable roof to be built over Wimbledon’s No 1 Court, with new locations to be found for many of the outside courts. The SW19 tournament is also to increase prize-money by more than 40 per cent, rising to a total fund of £22.6m. MORE

Glorious Gayle enters record book

West Indies opener Chris Gayle smashed the fastest century in history in the Indian Premier League, hitting three figures from just 30 balls as he struck 175 not out for Bangalore. “I’m lost for words,” Gayle, who hit a record 17 sixes, said. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Sir Alex Ferguson continues to operate at the height of his powers as British football’s most decorated manager. The reason, some close to him have suggested, is a unique ability to remake himself. MORE

Jonny’s return fails to pull in crowd

Jonny Wilkinson’s return to Twickenham with Toulon this weekend is likely to be played in a stadium just a quarter full. Only 20,000 tickets have been sold for the Heineken Cup semi-final with Saracens. “Clearly, it is not ideal,” Saracens chief executive Edward Griffiths said. MORE

McIlroy set to represent Ireland

Rory McIlroy is likely to represent Ireland rather than Great Britain at the 2016 Olympics, having played for the country as an amateur. “There may be a regulation within the rules that would require him to,” said the R&A chief executive, Peter Dawson. MORE