Luis Suarez bite: Suarez’s Liverpool career in jeopardy after bite

Club may consider offers as striker’s lawyer flies in to prepare his defence

Luis Suarez’s career for club and country was in jeopardy last night as Fifa prepared its case against the disgraced striker following his latest biting incident.

The Uruguayan striker is facing disciplinary action following his bite on Giorgio Chiellini in Uruguay’s Group D game against Italy on Tuesday afternoon. It is the third time he has bitten an opponent in recent years and Liverpool could be running out of patience with the striker who nearly guided them to the Premier League title last season.

UPDATE: Luis Suarez banned for nine matches

While Liverpool fought hard to keep Suarez at the club last summer, with the player agitating for a move after a bid of more than £40m from Arsenal, they may not be quite as keen this summer after his latest indiscretion, amid firm interest – and a far higher likely transfer fee – from Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Read more: Suarez denies bite, says Chiellini bumped into his shoulder
Suarez tried to bite Chiellini last year

Suarez’s lawyer, Alejandro Balbi, flew to Rio de Janeiro yesterday to prepare his defence. “We’re polishing off a defence argument,” said Balbi, who is also on the board of the Uruguayan FA, and who defended Suarez’s actions. “We don’t have any doubts that this has happened because it’s Suarez and secondly because Italy were eliminated. There’s a lot of pressure from England and Italy.”

Suarez is likely to face a hefty punishment after Fifa announced, in the early hours of yesterday morning, that it had opened disciplinary proceedings against him. The case will be overseen by the chairman of the Fifa disciplinary committee, Claudio Sulser, a Swiss lawyer and former professional footballer. The disciplinary committee will assess all the video evidence before making its judgement. The Uruguayan Football Association had a deadline last night to respond to the charge.

 

Fifa promised to move as swiftly as possible, with Uruguay due to play Colombia in the last 16 on Saturday evening, although it could not promise it would act before the match. “The disciplinary committee understands the urgency of the matter and is working to make a decision as soon as possible, particularly as Uruguay are still in the tournament,” said a Fifa spokesperson.

Suarez scored 31 Premier League goals last season, earning him PFA and FWA Player of the Year titles, despite missing the first six games of the season because of his previous biting ban. Liverpool had hoped that the striker had turned a corner after biting incidents in the past. Suarez was handed a 10-game ban in April last year for biting the Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in a game at Anfield. Liverpool and Suarez described themselves as being “shocked and disappointed” with that punishment.

Tuesday’s incident with Italy defender Chiellini was reminiscent of the clash with Ivanovic, which Liverpool had hoped would be a turning point in the striker’s chequered career. It also recalled when Suarez bit PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal in November 2010 while playing for Ajax, after which the Dutch FA banned him for seven games.

Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez (R) clashes with Chelsea's Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic (L) Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez (R) clashes with Chelsea's Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic (L)  

There were not many voices in Brazil condemning Suarez’s actions last night but one came from Alcides Ghiggia, who scored the winning goal when Uruguay won the World Cup in Brazil in 1950, and who called for Suarez to be punished.

“I think a punishment should be applied because this isn’t rare, it’s not the first time he’s done something like this,” said Ghiggia. “I don’t know what this lad thinks or what he has in his head. If you’re from Uruguay or anywhere else, you always have to punish these things on the field of play – it’s not a war.”

Two of Suarez’s main sponsors distanced themselves from him last night, with 888poker announcing that it was “seriously reviewing its relationship” with Suarez, as it “will not tolerate any unsporting behaviour”. Adidas executives also met in Rio de Janeiro yesterday to discuss the incident, and said they would wait for Fifa’s decision before responding.

There was also fierce criticism from the Liverpool legends Phil Thompson and Robbie Fowler, suggesting a change of mood on Merseyside after the continued indiscretions of the club’s best player.

“It’s a real, real tough predicament that most Liverpool fans are in,” said Fowler, who predicted the striker’s departure from Liverpool this summer. “They love him as a player, but what he does, he’s continually dragging the club’s name through the mud.

“It’s not right, especially after what they did with him last time when they’ve come out and supported him and tried to rehabilitate him. You can’t defend him,” said Fowler. “Off the pitch he’s a lovely fellow. He does so much work for charity, does so much in the community for Liverpool, and I love him as a player, but you cannot condone what he has done. It’s just not right, is it? I wouldn’t be surprised if he went now.”

Thompson denounced Suarez’s behaviour in just as strong terms. “You think of the support the guy has had from [manager] Brendan Rodgers, [owner] John Henry and the majority of the fans at Liverpool,” Thompson said. “He’s had massive support. It was like a kick in the face.”

Uruguay's defender Diego Lugano speaks during a press conference in Natal Uruguay's defender Diego Lugano speaks during a press conference in Natal  

But Uruguay captain Diego Lugano rallied behind Suarez last night, insisting that Chiellini was not bitten. “What incident?,” he said when asked about it. “The pictures don’t show anything. They show an approximation.”

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution