Luis Suarez bite: David Cameron says Liverpool striker sets 'the most appalling example'

Prime Minister said his intervention was that of a concerned parent

Prime Minister David Cameron today re-entered the debate over Luis Suarez's bite on Branislav Ivanovic, saying the Liverpool striker has set an “appalling example”.

While insisting the decision to ban Suarez for 10-matches was made independently by the FA, Cameron made clear he agreed with the heavy punishment.

It is the second time the PM has entered the debate over Suarez, who has dominated this week's headlines. Earlier in the week, following the FA's announcement that they believed a standard three-match ban was "clearly insufficient" in this case, Cameron said: "I think it would be very understandable if (the panel) took into account the fact that high-profile players are often role models."

That led to an angry reaction from Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who claimed the subsequent heavy punishment had been "prejudiced" by the remarks made by the FA and the PM.

Despite Rodgers' comments yesterday, and that Liverpool may still appeal against the ban, Cameron once again joined the debate over the bite during an interview with BBC Radio Five Live this morning.

"I made my own views clear just as a dad watching the game," he said.

"I've got a seven-year-old son who just loves watching football and when players behave like this it just sets the most appalling example to young people in our country."

When pressed on whether a 10-match ban was appropriate for the offence, he added: "That's up to the FA, it's not my decision.

"The FA make the decision, they're entirely independent and that is the way it should work.

"I'm going to leave it entirely to the FA. But if you're asking me as a dad and as a human being, do I think we should have tough penalties when players behave like this, yes I think we should.

"There are people, I've read in some newspapers, who think somehow this isn't serious. I think it is serious, when we're trying to bring up our children properly, they do see football players as role models.

"Bringing up children is one of the toughest things we do but you can't wrap them in cotton wool and hide them away from the world, they do see these real-life examples and they repeat them back to you."

Speaking yesterday, Rodgers made clear he felt comments, including those by the PM, prior to the decision to ban Suarez for 10 games had influenced the independent panel.

"We had been given clear indications by the FA that there was going to be an independent - or so-called independent - case put together and then we would receive what that sanction would be," he said.

"If you are an independent panel and yet the day beforehand the FA come out and say he (Suarez) will serve more than three games it is not independent because they are already putting pressure on the sanction.

"There is a prejudice there straight away.

"Everyone has their opinion - which is normal. People will be emotional in their statements - former players of the club and ex-players of other clubs having their opinions - the Prime Minister even chipped in, which is a different matter altogether.

"(Suarez) fell way below the standards set at the club but it doesn't mean he should be thrown to the garbage, which is what has happened with a lot of people in the last few days."

Liverpool have until midday today to confirm whether they intend to appeal the punishment, after studying the panel's written reasons for the suspension.

Rodgers remains confident the latest controversy in Suarez's relatively short spell in England - he has so far been banned for 18 matches in just over 28 months after receiving an eight-game suspension for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra - will not force him out.

"It is arguable he will have a better season (Suarez has scored 30 goals) than he has had this season yet he has still come under scrutiny and received criticism," he added.

"I don't think it (the ban) was right, it was too severe, and that will make you think, there is no question about that.

"At this moment in time I am sure he will feel really low because of the sanction that has been put on his actions.

"I think it is a 'crime' which we all see at the football club as something that shouldn't have happened.

"We knew he would get the punishment - we just never thought it would be so severe it would put him out of playing until October."

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

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected