World football's governing body FIFA has acted swiftly to ban rogue Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez for nine international matches and from any football-related activity for four months.
Suarez brought international opprobrium on himself when he bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in Uruguay's 1-0 win over the Azzuri on Tuesday.
The victory saw La Celeste through to the knockout round of the World Cup, where they will face Colombia on Saturday night, while Italy were sent home as a result of the loss.
The ban will also mean that Suarez once again misses several matches at the start of Liverpool's next Premier League campaign.
The FIFA Disciplinary Committee said in a statement that Suarez was guilty of 'unsporting conduct towards another player'.
"The player Luis Suarez is to be suspended for nine (9) official matches. The first match of this suspension is to be served in the upcoming FIFA World Cup fixture between Colombia and Uruguay on 28 June 2014. The remaining match suspensions shall be served in Uruguay’s next FIFA World Cup match(es), as long as the team qualifies, and/or in the representative team’s subsequent official matches...."
"The player Luis Suarez is banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) for a period of four (4) months"
''A stadium ban is pronounced against the player Luis Suarez ... the player Luis Suarez is prohibited from entering the confines of any stadium during the period of the ban. The player Luis Suarez is prohibited from entering the confines of any stadium in which the representative team of Uruguay is playing while he has to serve the nine-match suspension''.
“Such behaviour cannot be tolerated on any football pitch, and in particular not at a FIFA World Cup when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field.
In addition, Suarez has been fined 100,000 Swiss Francs ($118,876).
"The Disciplinary Committee took into account all the factors of the case and the degree of Mr Suárez’s guilt in accordance with the relevant provisions of the (disciplinary) Code. The decision comes into force as soon it is communicated,” said Claudio Sulser, chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee.
The Uruguayan FA will appeal against the ruling, but Suarez cannot play even if a challenge is lodged. The imposition of the fine could be delayed pending the appeal.
Suarez is one of the most gifted players in world football, scoring 31 league goals in 33 games for Liverpool last season.
He returned from a month on the sidelines with an injury to score twice in Uruguay's 2-1 win over England last week, transforming the team's World Cup which began with a loss to Costa Rica in a game Suarez missed through injury.
But he is also one of the game's most troubled players and has been banned twice previously for biting opponents.
Former Brazil striker Ronaldo had no sympathy.
"Football must set an example and show examples of good players," he told reporters. "People who are out of line must be punished.
"If my little children bit me, they are sent to the dark room with the big bad wolf. This is football's equivalent."
Suarez will not be able to train or attend matches with Liverpool until late October, a huge blow to their domestic and European ambitions.
"Liverpool Football Club will wait until we have seen and had time to review the FIFA Disciplinary Committee report before making any further comment," Liverpool chief executive officer Ian Ayre said on the club's website.
Adidas, who have used Suarez in a frontline promotion role in recent months, said it would stop using him in adverts for the rest of the World Cup.
"Adidas fully backs FIFA's decision," a spokeswoman said. "We do not accept the recent behaviour of Luis Suarez and shall remind him of the high standards we expect of our players.
"We have no plan to use Suarez for any other marketing activities during the 2014 FIFA World Cup."
smh.com.au with Reuters