FIFA has suspended Uruguay forward Luis Suarez for nine matches and banned him from any football-related activity for four months for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini in the 80th minute of Tuesday’s World Cup match. Uruguay scored after the incident, which was not noted by the referee, and earned a 1-0 win that sent the team into the World Cup’s round of 16.
Suarez also was fined about $112,000. He will not be allowed to enter the stadium for Uruguay’s knockout-round match against Colombia on Saturday in Rio de Janeiro, or any soccer stadium during his four-month suspension.
The suspension is the longest in World Cup history for an on-field incident, surpassing the eight-game suspension given to Italy’s Mauro Tassotti in 1994 after he broke the nose of Spain’s Luis Enrique with his elbow in the World Cup quarterfinals.
Uruguayan soccer officials argued that Suarez was a victim of Italian aggression, and that the push to punish Suarez was driven by media campaigns in England, where Suarez plays professionally, and Italy.
“The British media has a vendetta against Suarez, and everyone knows that,” teammate Diego Lugano said, according to the Associated Press. “It’s obvious the vendetta sells newspapers in England, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. Uruguay and Italy played yesterday. On Saturday Uruguay plays Colombia, I don’t know why there’s a British journalist asking about Suarez.”Suarez had been punished twice previously for biting players while playing for club teams. While playing for Ajax in the Netherlands in 2010, he was suspended seven games for biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal on the shoulder. Then, while playing for Liverpool in England in 2013, he was suspended for 10 games for biting Chelsea’s Branislov Ivanovic on the arm.