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Luis Suarez banned for 4 Months for Biting Opponent at World Cup

By: CBS News Email
By: CBS News Email
 FIFA banned Uruguay striker Luis Suarez from all football activities for four months on Thursday for biting an opponent at the World Cup, a punishment that rules him out of the rest of the tournament and the start of the upcoming Premier League season.

Uruguay's forward Luis Suarez reacts during a Group D football match between Italy and Uruguay at the Dunas Arena in Natal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 24, 2014. Uruguay won 1-0. AFP PHOTO/ DANIEL GARCIA (Photo credit should read DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images) / DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images

(CBS News) RIO DE JANEIRO -- FIFA banned Uruguay striker Luis Suarez from all football activities for four months on Thursday for biting an opponent at the World Cup, a punishment that rules him out of the rest of the tournament and the start of the upcoming Premier League season.

The ban also covers Uruguay's next nine international games, which goes beyond the next four months and rules him out of next year's Copa America. FIFA also fined the Liverpool striker 100,000 Swiss francs ($112,000).

Suarez bit the shoulder of Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during Uruguay's 1-0 win in the group stage, but escaped unpunished as the referee did not see the incident.

"Such behavior cannot be tolerated on any football pitch and in particular not at a FIFA World Cup, when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field," Claudio Sulser, chairman of the FIFA disciplinary committee, said in a statement.

This is the third time Suarez has been banned for biting an opponent after similar incidents with Ajax in the Dutch league and Liverpool. He was given a 10-match ban by the Premier League for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic toward the end of the 2012-13 season.

The FIFA ban is effective immediately, meaning Suarez will miss Uruguay's round-of-16 game against Colombia on Saturday. By banning Suarez from all football activities, FIFA also prohibited Suarez from even entering a stadium at the World Cup. It also stops him from even training with Liverpool until the ban ends in late October.

"He cannot be actively involved" with a club, FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer said.

Suarez and the Uruguay football federation can appeal the sanctions, though Liverpool could not be formally involved in any legal challenge, Fischer said.

The four-month ban includes Liverpool's first three Champions League group-stage games in the five-time European champion's return after a five-year absence. Suarez will also miss the first nine matches of the Premier League.

A day after he tangled with Chiellini, Suarez was coping well, according to the Uruguay football federation president.

"Luis is fine. He's been through 1001 battles," Wilmar Valdez told the online site Tenfield.com. "We all know who Luis is and that's why we have to defend him."

FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who was in the crowd for the Uruguay-Italy match at Natal, has pledged a zero tolerance for the darker side of the game.

Suarez also faces the prospect of a big financial hit following the incident, with existing sponsorship deals potentially being ripped up and future endorsements put in jeopardy.

Already, two of his sponsors - 888poker and adidas - have hinted that they may re-examine their deals with Suarez.

888poker, which signed up Suarez last month, said that it was "reviewing" its relationship with the striker.

"We will not tolerate unsporting behavior," the company said in a tweet.

888poker announced a global endorsement contract with Suarez after Liverpool's surprise run toward the Premier League title. Though the team placed second behind Manchester City, it gained many supporters for its attacking flair.

The signing up of Suarez, who is a keen poker enthusiast, was also a sign that Suarez had improved his image following a biting incident with Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic the previous season. He was voted player of the year by his peers in the English game as well as football writers.

A far bigger profile for Suarez comes from adidas, which is FIFA's oldest partner - the relationship goes back to 1970.

In a statement, the German sportswear giant said it awaits "FIFA's full investigation into this matter and will respond accordingly."

In 2013, after Suarez bit Ivanovic, adidas released a statement saying it would remind him of "the standards we expect from our players" but the company did not end its sponsorship.


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