Luis Suarez bite: Liverpool could have grounds to take legal action if Suarez is found guilty of his latest biting accusation, according to a national law firm

Suarez's alleged bite on Italy's Giorgio Chiellini could be classified as 'gross misconduct'

Liverpool could build a case to sue Luis Suarez for breach of contract if he is banned for biting, according to a leading employment lawyer.

The striker is at the centre of yet more controversy after appearing to sink his teeth into Giorgio Chiellini during Uruguay's World Cup clash against Italy in Brazil on Tuesday.

World governing body FIFA is now investigating the matter and the 27-year-old could face a lengthy ban that could be extended to club football.

UPDATE: Luis Suarez banned for nine matches

Suarez has twice been banned for biting opponents in the past.

Last year he was banned for 10 matches for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic while he incurred a seven-game suspension for a similar offence while at Ajax in 2010.

Glenn Hayes, employment law partner at national law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: "The general position is that Suarez's behaviour in the work environment would usually represent gross misconduct (given that it could be classified as an assault) and would usually result in the dismissal of an employee in most circumstances.

 

"If the matter has occurred outside of work and is not connected to it, for example in the form of a work social, the issue for the employer would usually be whether the actions of the employee had brought the business into disrepute.

"In the case of Suarez this could easily be argued - particularly as it is the second time an incident like this has happened whilst he has been with the club (and third time overall), and the Anfield club stood by the player last time despite risk to their reputation and despite his lengthy ban.

"The decision for Liverpool however is not really about whether they do what a 'normal employer' may do.

Read more: Watch Suarez 'bite' Chiellini
Fifa statement on Suarez 'bite'
10 best Suarez memes

"With Barcelona and Real Madrid apparently planning to make significant bids for the player after the World Cup, the decision is whether they are willing to dismiss a player and waive a potential huge transfer fee.

"Much will depend on what punishment FIFA hands down but if the ban is sufficiently long so that Suarez is unable to fulfil his contract, this so-called 'frustration of contract' could lead to claims by Liverpool for breach of contract on the part of Suarez."

The latest Suarez incident in the group match in Natal came amid growing speculation linking the PFA player of the year with a big-money move to Barcelona.

European champions Real Madrid have previously been linked with the player.

Read more: Suarez tried to bite Chiellini a year ago
Fans win bets that Suarez would bite at the World Cup
'Suarez is a target of the press,' says Tabarez

It remains to be seen whether such apparent interest is now tempered.

Liverpool have declined to comment on the matter. It is understood the club intend to let FIFA's process take its course before making their position clear.

Yet with Suarez having also been involved in numerous other controversies since joining Liverpool in 2011 - most infamously a race row with Manchester United's Patrice Evra that led to an eight-match ban - there is the potential for embarrassment for the Reds.

Read more: Nando's, McDonalds and Snickers jibe at Suarez
10 best Suarez memes on social media
Suarez swerves bite claim after Uruguay victory

Hayes said: "It will be interesting to see how the situation develops over the next few days and what stance Liverpool take in relation to their highest-profile and most-valued employee."

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
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.

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue