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Fifa general secretary defends Suarez ban

‘It’s not what you want your kids to see at the level of the World Cup’ says Jerome Valcke

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez: ruled out of football for four months. Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/Getty
Fifa secretary general, Jerome Valcke, has urged Luis Suarez to seek professional help and confirmed his previous biting offences were taken into account when deciding on his unprecedented ban.

Despite Suarez’s Italian victim, Giorgio Chiellini, declaring the four-month ban from all football excessive and support for the Uruguayan from Diego Maradona among others, Valcke defended the decision.

“I think he should find a way to stop doing it,” said Valcke. “He should go through a treatment. I don’t know if one exists but he should do something for himself because it is definitely wrong.

“If it’s the first time it’s an incident, if it starts to be more than once it is not an incident. That is why the sanction has to be exemplary.”

The event occurred during Uruguay’s win over Italy and is the third time Suarez has been punished for biting during his career. As his team-mates trained in Rio ahead of their last-16 game with Colombia, the player arrived back in Montevideo.

Close contact

Liverpool moved to quash suggestions from Suarez’s lawyer, Alejandro Balbi, that the club would meet with his agent, Pere Guardiola, in Barcelona. It is understood Liverpool chief executive, Ian Ayre, remains in close contact with Guardiola but there are no plans for any of the club’s officials or lawyers to travel to Spain.

Liverpool are still waiting to see the full written verdict of the Fifa disciplinary panel and for the outcome of the Uruguayan FA’s appeal before consulting with lawyers and deciding their next move. However, the club’s American owners are believed to be adamant that Suarez will not be sold on the cheap to Barcelona. His new contract has a buy-out clause believed to be around €100 million.

Valcke defended the punishment meted out to Suarez, which also includes a nine-game international ban and a €82, 000 fine, despite the fact that it punishes Liverpool for an offence committed on international duty. The international players’ union, FifPro, has questioned why Liverpool should be affected by the ban and said Fifa should have included treatment and rehabilitation as part of the sanction.

“It is not Liverpool who have been punished, it is the player who has been punished,” Valcke said. “They took into account the past behaviour of Luis Suarez. They made a decision based on the evidence of what Suarez had done.”

Valcke said the player had to face a hefty punishment because players were expected to set an example.

“It is not just about this incident, it was seen by hundreds of millions of people,” he said. “It is not what you want your kids, the little ones who are playing football all around the world, to see . .at the level of the World Cup. ”

Maradona, no stranger to controversy himself, backed Suarez, wearing a T-shirt bearing the message “Luis, we are with you” and said the “unjust judgment” was the verdict of an “incredible mafia”.

“The Fifa sanction is shameful, they have no sensitivity towards the fans, they may as well handcuff him and throw him in Guantanamo,” said Maradona.