Luis Suarez facing World Cup expulsion after latest bite claims
Fifa charge Uruguay striker and he has until tonight to provide evidence to support his case
Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini complains to the referee and claims he was bitten by Uruguay’s Luis Suarez.
As the final whistle went in Natal to confirm that Uruguay had beaten Italy to progress to the second round of the World Cup, a deep roar of triumph went up from the 15,000 Uruguay fans at the Estadio das Dunas.
The Uruguay players, who had given everything in a physical, ugly match against a technically superior team, ran to each other to celebrate in the middle of their half. They were joined by the staff and substitutes, who ran from the sidelines in their silly Fifa bibs.
Only one player failed to join in. Uruguay’s number nine lay still on his back near the half-way line. Just as he had at Selhurst Park last month, he had pulled the top of his shirt up over his face. But for the fact that Luis Suarez was all in white, you would have assumed he was one of the defeated Italy players.
Video: Luis Suarez biting controversy
It was a far cry from Suarez’s joyous reaction after the match against England, when he was chaired onto the pitch by exultant team-mates.
Within a few minutes, Giorgio Chiellini would allege that Suarez had bitten him on the shoulder during a tussle that took place in the 80th minute of the match.
Challenged FifaThe Italian directly challenged Fifa to take action: “Suarez is a sneak and he gets away with it because Fifa want their stars to play in the World Cup. I’d love to see if they have the courage to use video evidence against him. The referee saw the bite mark too, but he did nothing about it.”
This morning Fifa charged the striker and the Uruguayan FA have been given until 5pm local time (9pm irish time) tonight to provide evidence to support his case. Fifa’s disciplinary code sets a maximum ban of 24 matches or two years, which would obviously rule Suarez out of Saturday’s encounter against Colombia in Rio de Janeiro and, if they overcome Jose Pekerman’s side, any subsequent World Cup fixtures.
The mixed zone last night at Das Dunas was chaos as journalists waited for Suarez to come through. After a delay of nearly 90 minutes, the player at last strode through the door in a dark suit and hurried through the player corridor, declining to speak to the waiting media, but pursued by shouted questions: “Luis, did you bite Chiellini? Luis, did you bite him?” Suarez kept walking, head down, grinning nervously.
It was a strange way for a man who had just helped his side to qualify for the second round of the World Cup to behave, unless there was a particular question he was keen to avoid. He spoke briefly to TV cameras in the flash zone, but said little about the incident except: “These things happen in the box.”
The Italy manager, Cesare Prandelli, who resigned after his team’s defeat, admitted he hadn’t seen the offence in real time. “I only saw the bite mark on Chiellini’s shoulder,” he said.