Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

No appeal from Liverpool over Luis Suarez bite

Prime Minster David Cameron said Luis Suarez, pictured, set 'the most appalling example' by biting Branislav Ivanovic
Prime Minster David Cameron said Luis Suarez, pictured, set 'the most appalling example' by biting Branislav Ivanovic

Liverpool have decided not to appeal against Luis Suarez's 10-match ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic, the Football Association has confirmed.

 

Prime Minister David Cameron today re-entered the debate over Luis Suarez's bite on Branislav Ivanovic, saying the Liverpool striker has set an “appalling example”.

While insisting the decision to ban Suarez for 10-matches was made independently by the FA, Cameron made clear he agreed with the heavy punishment.

It is the second time the PM has entered the debate over Suarez, who has dominated this week's headlines. Earlier in the week, following the FA's announcement that they believed a standard three-match ban was "clearly insufficient" in this case, Cameron said: "I think it would be very understandable if (the panel) took into account the fact that high-profile players are often role models."

That led to an angry reaction from Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who claimed the subsequent heavy punishment had been "prejudiced" by the remarks made by the FA and the PM.

Despite Rodgers' comments yesterday, and that Liverpool may still appeal against the ban, Cameron once again joined the debate over the bite during an interview with BBC Radio Five Live this morning.

"I made my own views clear just as a dad watching the game," he said.

"I've got a seven-year-old son who just loves watching football and when players behave like this it just sets the most appalling example to young people in our country."

When pressed on whether a 10-match ban was appropriate for the offence, he added: "That's up to the FA, it's not my decision.

"The FA make the decision, they're entirely independent and that is the way it should work.

"I'm going to leave it entirely to the FA. But if you're asking me as a dad and as a human being, do I think we should have tough penalties when players behave like this, yes I think we should.

"There are people, I've read in some newspapers, who think somehow this isn't serious. I think it is serious, when we're trying to bring up our children properly, they do see football players as role models.

"Bringing up children is one of the toughest things we do but you can't wrap them in cotton wool and hide them away from the world, they do see these real-life examples and they repeat them back to you."

Speaking yesterday, Rodgers made clear he felt comments, including those by the PM, prior to the decision to ban Suarez for 10 games had influenced the independent panel.

"We had been given clear indications by the FA that there was going to be an independent - or so-called independent - case put together and then we would receive what that sanction would be," he said.

"If you are an independent panel and yet the day beforehand the FA come out and say he (Suarez) will serve more than three games it is not independent because they are already putting pressure on the sanction.

"There is a prejudice there straight away.

"Everyone has their opinion - which is normal. People will be emotional in their statements - former players of the club and ex-players of other clubs having their opinions - the Prime Minister even chipped in, which is a different matter altogether.

"(Suarez) fell way below the standards set at the club but it doesn't mean he should be thrown to the garbage, which is what has happened with a lot of people in the last few days."

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