Reds decide against Suarez appeal
Luis Suarez has accepted his 10-match ban imposed for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic, the Football Association has announced.
The Liverpool striker had been given two days to decide whether to appeal after the incident during the 2-2 draw at Anfield on Sunday but has not done so. It means the Uruguay international will miss Liverpool's last four games of this season and the first six domestic games of next season - potentially leaving him sidelined until October.
Suarez released a statement in which he said he elected not to appeal because he realised his behaviour was unacceptable. He said: "I am truly very sorry about the incident with Branislav Ivanovic. I hope that all the people who I have offended at Anfield last Sunday will grant me forgiveness."
Suarez's statement added: "I know that all the things that are happening to me in England will help me improve my conduct on the field. Right now I just want to focus on becoming a better footballer on and off the field.
"I would like to explain to everybody that I decided to accept the ban because whilst 10 games is clearly greater than those bans given in past cases where players have actually been seriously hurt, I acknowledge that my actions were not acceptable on the football pitch so I do not want to give the wrong impression to people by making an appeal.
"I really want to learn from what has happened in the last two and a half years, many things have been said and written about me, I just tried to do my best on the field. I hope to come back early to play."
Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre stressed Suarez himself had made the decision not to appeal, saying: "The charges against Luis were his to consider and we have to respect his decision to not appeal the 10-game ban. We are all disappointed at the severity of the punishment and in particular the differing standards that have been applied across various previous incidents.
"Luis is an important member of our team and nothing has changed in that regard. We are committed to helping him improve his conduct and he will be given our full support. We look forward to him returning to the team next season when he is available for selection."
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers acknowledged Suarez's absence will be felt, adding: "We can't hide our disappointment at the outcome of this situation, but we have to move on and support Luis in his decision. Luis has made a huge contribution to the squad this season and we respect his decision to accept the ban.
"He will be missed for the remainder of this season and the early part of next, but we will have the opportunity to welcome a better person and player when he returns."