In an unprecedented move Fifa has banned Uruguay’s Luis Suárez from all “football-related activities” for four months for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini, ruling him out of the rest of the World Cup and the start of the domestic season.
The Liverpool striker will not be able to play or train for his club or country for four months after Fifa’s disciplinary committee handed down the hefty sanction, which is sure to provoke dismay from both Uruguay and Liverpool.
The biting incident, the third in which Suárez has been involved in his career, has also led Fifa’s disciplinary committee to ban the player from even entering any football stadium during the ban.
Suárez has also been banned for nine competitive international matches, beginning with Uruguay’s last-16 clash with Colombia on Saturday, and fined £66,000.
“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,” said Claudio Sulser, the chair of the disciplinary committee, which met late into the night at the Sofitel Hotel on Copacabana.
“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 code. The decision comes into force as soon it is communicated.”
The ban means that Suárez, who the Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers hailed as a reformed character last season as he won both footballer of the year prizes, will miss nine Premier League matches and three Champions League games.
Although Uruguay can appeal the decision, it will not stop Suárez being banned from Saturday’s match because under article 124 of the Fifa disciplinary code it does not have a “suspensive effect”.
Before Fifa announced their judgment, the Uruguayan FA and even the country’s president had weighed into the issue in support of Suárez.
They claimed that Suárez was the target of a conspiracy among the Italians, the English media and the Brazilian hosts to make more of the incident than it warranted.
“You shouldn’t forget that we’re rivals of many and we can be for the hosts [Brazil] in the future. This does not go against what might have happened, but there’s no doubt that Suárez is a stone in the shoe for many,” said Suárez’s lawyer Alejandro Balbi.
But television pictures showing the incident seemed clear. The ban – added to previous penalties for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra and for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, mean that he will have been suspended for 34 matches since 2010 without receiving a single red card on the pitch.
Fifa clarified that Suarez’s ban from all “administrative” tasks related to football did not block any possible transfer from Liverpool during the period.
Liverpool’s chief executive Ian Ayre said: “Liverpool Football Club will wait until we have seen and had time to review the Fifa Disciplinary Committee report before making any further comment.