Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Suarez ban to act as a deterrent

Luis Suarez has been banned for 10 matches for biting

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was banned for 10 matches for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic to act as a deterrent to further such "deplorable behaviour", an Football Association Regulatory Commission ruled.

The Uruguay international was handed a lengthy suspension for the incident, missed by referee Kevin Friend but subsequently reviewed using television evidence, in last weekend's 2-2 draw. Suarez has decided not to appeal against the sanction, seven matches more than the statutory ban for violent conduct, having read the reasons of the panel.

"We believe it is our duty to discourage any players at any level from acting in such a deplorable manner or attempting to copy what they had seen on the television," said the report. "The incident of biting an opponent is alien to football and must remain so."

The panel also stated that Suarez had failed to "fully appreciate the gravity and seriousness of this truly exceptional incident".

"It is completely unacceptable and such truly disgraceful behaviour could also lead to possible health issues," said the report. "This truly shocking incident had been seen by millions of viewers both domestic and overseas, as well as generating a great deal of interest and debate amongst countless numbers of people.

"Whilst we accepted that Mr Suarez's reputation had been impacted, these unsavoury pictures would have given a bad image of English football domestically and across the world alike.

"All players in the higher level of the game are seen as role models, have the duty to act professionally and responsibly, and set the highest example of good conduct to the rest of the game - especially to young players.

"In this regard and on this occasion, Mr Suarez's conduct had fallen far below the standards expected of him. We took into consideration Mr Suarez's apology, his personal statement, supporting letter from Mr Brendan Rodgers and the letter from Ms Zoe Ward (Liverpool's secretary).

"But when these were read in conjunction with Mr Suarez's denial of the standard punishment that would otherwise apply for violent conduct is clearly insufficient, it seemed to us that Mr Suarez has not fully appreciated the gravity and seriousness of this truly exceptional incident."

Suarez earlier 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."

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