Suarez says bite was not deliberate

Luis Suarez has told Fifa’s disciplinary panel that he did not deliberately bite Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during Uruguay’s match against the Italians at the World Cup.

“In no way it happened how you have described, as a bite or intent to bite,” the Uruguay striker wrote in Spanish in a letter dated June 25.

The player’s defence is in paragraph six of Fifa’s disciplinary committee ruling, which resulted in a lengthy ban that Uruguayan football association AUF has told Fifa it intends to appeal.

“After the impact … I lost my balance, making my body unstable and falling on top of my opponent,” Suarez wrote in his submission to the panel, which met on Wednesday, a day after Uruguay beat Italy 1-0 in a decisive group-stage match.

“At that moment I hit my face against the player leaving a small bruise on my cheek and a strong pain in my teeth,” Suarez said.

But the seven-man panel that met on Wednesday evening dismissed the argument.

The bite was “deliberate, intentional and without provocation”, the ruling stated in paragraph 26 of the panel’s conclusions.

Suarez was banned from playing in Uruguay’s next nine competitive international matches and from any involvement in football for four months. He was also fined 100 000 Swiss francs ($112 000).

The panel, chaired by former Switzerland international Claudio Sulser, included members from the Cook islands, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Panama, South Africa and Singapore.

The ruling confirmed that referee Marco Rodriguez of Mexico acknowledged in his match report that he missed Suarez’s bite. So did his two assistants and the fourth official.

“I haven’t seen the incident because the ball was in another sector of the pitch,” Rodriguez writes in paragraph four of witness submissions in the 11-page document. 

Intention to appeal
A Fifa spokesperson said the world governing body had received a formal, written “intention to appeal” from AUF on Friday.

The Uruguayans now have until next Sunday to submit their written reasons for the appeal.

The appeal will be handled by Fifa’s appeal committee, which is chaired by Larry Mussenden of Bermuda and is a separate body to the disciplinary committee.

Suarez’s ban remains in place throughout the appeal process, which rules out any chance of him returning quickly to action during the World Cup in Brazil.

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez accused Fifa on Friday of “excessive severity” with the ban and said the Liverpool striker had been made a “scapegoat”. – Sapa-AP, Reuters

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Graham Dunbar
Graham Dunbar works from Switzerland, usually Geneva. Associated Press sports writer. Opinions are my own. Graham Dunbar has over 4914 followers on Twitter.

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