Uruguay striker Luis Suarez will miss the rest of the World Cup after he was banned today for nine international matches and four months after biting an Italian defender during a game, FIFA said.
Suarez, 27, who also plays for Liverpool in England, will miss the start of the upcoming Premier League season and the club's Champions League games this fall. Furthermore, the ban also covers Uruguay's next nine international matches, which will stretch beyond the next four months, and will almost certainly rule him out of the start of next year's Copa America, South America's continental championship.
"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. The Disciplinary Committee took into account all the factors of the case and the degree of Mr. Suarez's guilt in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Code. The decision comes into force as soon it is communicated," added Claudio Sulser, who serves as chairman of FIFA's Disciplinary Committee.
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In a statement, FIFA, soccer's world governing body, said the Disciplinary Committee had come to the conclusion that Suarez had "breached" the code of "an act of unsporting behavior towards another player."
Just before Uruguay defeated Italy 1-0 this past Tuesday in the Brazilian city of Natal, Suarez appeared to bite Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini in the 80th minute while the players tussled in the penalty area. He was not punished by the referee, but the Disciplinary Committee made its decision after reviewing game footage.
In addition, FIFA said Suarez will serve the ban starting this weekend and will have to pay an $112,000 fine. Uruguay plays Colombia on Saturday in the round of 16.
"The remaining match suspensions shall be served in Uruguay's next FIFA World Cup match(es), as long as the team qualifies, and/or in the representative team's subsequent official matches," FIFA said.
Uruguay's soccer federation said it plans to appeal the ban.
Chiellini told Sky Italia after the game: "Suarez is a sneak and he gets away with it because FIFA want their stars to play in the World Cup. I'd love to see if they have the courage to use video evidence against him," according to ESPN.
This is not the first time Suarez, who is nicknamed the "Cannibal," has bitten players during games.
In 2010, Suarez was suspended as an Ajax player for seven games for chomping on PSV Eindhoven player Otman Bakkal. Last year, Suarez was suspended for 10 games as a Liverpool player for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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FIFA Suspends and Fines Suarez After Biting Player