Luis Suarez bite: Attitude blamed for his 10-match ban

FA reveals Liverpool striker’s opposition to charge led to imposition of tougher punishment

Luis Suarez was given a 10-game ban to send out a clear message and because the Liverpool striker had not appreciated how repellent his biting of Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic had been.

When providing Liverpool with written reasons for the length of the punishment that will see the Uruguayan suspended until October, the Football Association’s independent panel said: “Luis Suarez had not fully appreciated the gravity and the seriousness of this truly exceptional incident because he believed a three-game ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic was sufficient.”

The three-man panel added that the punishment, which Liverpool did not appeal, was designed to send out “a strong message that such deplorable behaviours do not have a place in football”.

The panel, which included the former Ipswich and Arsenal midfielder Brian Talbot, said comparable incidents were Eden Hazard’s kicking of a ball boy during Chelsea’s Capital One Cup semi-final with Swansea and Ashley Barnes of Brighton tripping a referee at Bolton in March. This, the commission said, was worse than  either, though Suarez’s previous disciplinary history was not considered.

“It was shocking, unexpected and truly exceptional,” the report said. “It is our duty to discourage any players at any level from acting in such a deplorable manner. Within a few hours of the match the incident was headline news around the country and the top trend on Twitter worldwide.”

This is not the first time that an FA commission has taken a dim view of Suarez’s attitude to a charge. When in December 2011 he was banned for eight matches for racially abusing the Manchester United defender Patrice Evra, the commission highlighted his “unreliable and inconsistent evidence” as a reason for its verdict.

However, if Suarez did not appreciate the gravity of his behaviour in the immediate aftermath, the statement he issued yesterday was deeply contrite. With the Prime Minister, David Cameron, arguing he had “set the most appalling example” and his manager, Brendan Rodgers, warning that he could never be considered a great player unless he changed his ways, Suarez appealed for understanding.

“I am truly very sorry about the incident with Branislav Ivanovic,” he said. “I hope that all the people who I have offended at Anfield last Sunday will grant me forgiveness.

“I decided to accept the ban because whilst 10 games is clearly greater than those bans given out in past cases where players have actually been seriously hurt, I acknowledge my actions were not acceptable on a football pitch so I do not want to give the wrong impression to people by making an appeal.

“I really want to learn from what has happened. In the last two-and-a-half years many things have been said and written about me. I just tried to do my best on the field. I hope to come back early to play.”

Suarez won support from unexpected quarters. Sir Alex Ferguson compared the incident to the 10-month suspension given to Eric Cantona for assaulting a spectator at Crystal Palace in January 1995. The Manchester United manager said he understood why Liverpool had not imposed their own sanction on Suarez because United, having themselves suspended Cantona for six months, saw the FA increase it to 10. Ferguson then, like Rodgers now, blamed the influence of the media for the severity of the sentence.

In Suarez’s native Uruguay, stretching the laws of the game to win an advantage is called picardia. In Rodgers’ native Northern Ireland, they are called “rascals”. “They are rascals but there is a lot of good in those players as well,” said the Liverpool manager. “Everyone is not perfect. If you have a squad of perfect players, you might not have that quality to go on and win. The one thing I will say is that you can never be called a great player when your behaviour is like that. Great players won’t behave like that.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence