Luis Suarez bite: Liverpool striker ready to fight FA if ban exceeds three games

Striker accepts violent conduct charge but says standard punishment is enough

Martin Hardy
Wednesday 24 April 2013 12:55 BST
Luis Suarez will learn his fate after today’s hearing
Luis Suarez will learn his fate after today’s hearing

Luis Suarez gave notification that he is ready to fight a lengthy Football Association ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic by denying the FA's claim that a standard three-match ban is insufficient given the extraordinary nature of the incident.

Suarez did accept the FA's charge of violent conduct following the clash with Ivanovic during Liverpool's 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Anfield on Sunday. The Liverpool forward was clearly seen biting the arm of the Chelsea defender in the second half and has accepted a fine by his club and offered an apology to Ivanovic.

However, the FA's statement gave warning that Suarez could contest any decision made by the Independent Regulatory Commission, which will decide the player's fate during a video conference call.

"Luis Suarez has today [Tuesday] accepted a charge of violent conduct, following an incident with Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic in Sunday's fixture at Anfield," the FA statement read.

"However, Suarez has denied the FA's claim that the standard punishment of three matches is clearly insufficient for this offence. The incident was not seen by the match officials and has therefore been retrospectively reviewed."

Suarez could be banned for seven games, as he was in the Netherlands when he bit PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal during his time with Ajax, although the panel has the power to hand out a suspension in excess of even that figure. That Suarez has contested the right of the panel to impose a ban of longer than three games suggests a further challenge to the FA's authority from the player and Liverpool, who were widely criticised in light of their handling of the Suarez-Patrice Evra racism row last season.

The independent commission will decide the Uruguayan's fate during a video conference that is expected to start around midday Wednesday. The panel will contain at least one former player, although there will no QC present. The members will go through paper submissions from the FA and from the player before deciding the punishment. However, any decision could now be challenged in light of the decision not to accept that a three-game suspension would constitute insufficient punishment.

The referee Kevin Friend missed the incident at Anfield on Sunday, leading to retrospective action and the violent conduct charge.

Suarez accepted the fine he was handed by Liverpool and immediately offered to pay it to the Hillsborough Families Support Group fund. Now that act of contrition has been overshadowed by the failure to accept a punishment of longer than three games.

There also remains the possibility that the panel could impose a ban of up to 12 games, given its wide range of powers. Joey Barton received such a suspension last season when sent off for Queen's Park Rangers.

Suarez and Liverpool's decision to reject that a three-game suspension would be insufficient is seen as a tactic should the Uruguayan be given a lengthy ban. They would then cite that position to argue down the length of any ban in an appeal.

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