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FIFA panel to hear Suarez’s biting appeal

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Hamilton (Bermuda), June 28 :

Bermudian lawyer Larry Mussenden could hold the key to the fate of banned Uruguayan footballer Luis Suarez, CMC quoted media reports here.

Mussenden, who is president of the Bermuda Football Association, chairs a FIFA panel that is likely to hear an appeal against a four-month ban imposed on Suarez after a World Cup biting incident, reports CMC.

Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez

Mussenden confirmed his role by text from Brazil Friday.

Bermuda football legend Clyde Best said Suarez acted like a “pit bull” and should have been suspended for a year.

Suarez was banned Thursday for four months worldwide from any football activity, banned from international football for nine games and slapped with a fine of $118,000 for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder.

But former West Ham striker Best, 63, said Suarez, leading scorer last season in English Premier League runners-up Liverpool, was fortunate not to get longer ban.

“He’s pretty lucky if you ask me,” Best told the Bermuda Sun.

“If it had been down to me, it would have been harsher than that.

“He’s done it three times now. The game has no room for that sort of behaviour. He did it, there’s no doubt about that. He was like a pit bull, the way he attacked him.

“I’d have given him a year, myself. It’s ridiculous. He’s done it in Holland, in England and now the biggest stage of all, the World Cup. It’s embarrassing for his family and his country.

“I’ve never seen it before, never when I was playing. I have seen plenty of people kick each other but never bite each other.”

The Uruguay FA has said it will appeal the FIFA ruling, which it describes as “excessive”, insisting there was “not enough evidence”.

FIFA procedure states the matter then goes to FIFA’s Appeals Committee, of which Mussenden is chairman. If still unhappy with the verdict, the Uruguay FA can then take its appeal to the Court of Abitration. It’s the biggest ban handed down in World Cup history.

The chairman of FIFA’s disciplinary committee, Claudio Sulser, said: “Such behaviour cannot be tolerated on any football pitch and, in particular, not at the FIFA World Cup, when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field.”

SUAREZ A SCAPEGOAT : COACH

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez has said controversial striker Luis Suarez had been made a scapegoat by his four-month ban for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini.

Speaking during a press conference here on Friday, Tabarez accused football’s governing body FIFA and media of showing “excessive severity” towards Suarez.

“We know the mistakes he’s made, but there’s another side to this person,” Xinhua quoted Tabarez as saying.

“Many times you forget that the scapegoat is a person, who has rights.”

Suarez was found guilty by FIFA’s disciplinary committee of biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during Uruguay’s 1-0 victory over the Azzurri, a result that secured the South American side’s place in the World Cup round of 16.

In addition, he was fined 100,000 Swiss francs (112,000 US dollars), suspended for nine competitive international matches and prohibited from all football-related activity for four months.

The Liverpool striker also received a seven-match ban in 2010 for biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal. Last year, he was handed a 10-match suspension for the same offence against Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.

In a 10-minute speech to the press, in which he refused to take questions, Tabarez announced his resignation from positions with FIFA’s strategic committee and technical study group.

“It isn’t wise to be in an organization with those who exerted pressure to promote this decision,” the Celeste coach said.

Suarez also won support from former Argentina great Diego Maradona, Brazil forward Fred and even Chiellini.

“At the moment my only thought is for Luis and his family, because they will face a very difficult period,” the Juventus defender said. “I believe that the proposed formula is excessive.”

“I sincerely hope that he will be allowed, at least, to stay close to his team mates during the games because such a ban is really alienating for a player.”

Uruguay and Colombia will meet at Rio’s Maracana stadium Saturday for a berth in the World Cup quarterfinals.

–IANS/CMC