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'
Wednesday 25 June 2014
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.
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.
"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."
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
Latest in Sport
Manchester City vs Manchester United combined XI: No place for Yaya Toure... or any United defenders
Sami Khedira transfer news: Arsenal can win the Premier League if they sign Khedira in January, says Perry Groves
Paul Scholes: At last! Some credit for Sam Allardyce
Manchester City vs Manchester United analysis: Manuel Pellegrini has no excuse for City's lack of a Plan B, writes Danny Higginbotham
Impressive Kurt Zouma may save Chelsea millions by replacing John Terry
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 4 Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
- 5 The bubble bursts for Sodastream
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything