Troubled Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez looks almost certain to miss the rest of the World Cup after FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings against him, following an evening of accusations that he bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini.
A furious Chiellini said he had been bitten by Suarez during the South Americans’ 1-0 Group D victory at the World Cup on Tuesday, and photographs showed what appeared to be bite marks on his shoulder. Pictures also showed Suarez sitting on the ground holding his teeth immediately after the incident.
The probe means Suarez, twice previously banned for biting, looks set to be hit with another lengthy suspension despite escaping punishment during the match.
“FIFA can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the player Luis Suarez of Uruguay,” the world soccer body said in a statement late on Tuesday.
FIFA said Suarez and the Uruguayan soccer association had until 5 pm Brasilia time on Wednesday (1:30 am on Thursday in India) to “provide their position and any documentary evidence they deem relevant”.
Liverpool’s Suarez was banned for 10 games last year after biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in a Premier League match and in 2010 he was suspended for 7 games for a similar offence against PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal while playing for Ajax Amsterdam.
He missed Uruguay’s World Cup semi-final against the Netherlands four years ago after being sent off for a handball on the line that denied Ghana what would have been a match-winning goal in the final minute of extra time.
Line of defence
Suarez defended himself for Tuesday’s incident. “Those are situations that happen on the pitch. We were both just there inside the area. He shoved me with his shoulder,” he
said in reference to Chiellini’s mark.
FIFA’s disciplinary code sets a maximum ban of 24 matches or two years, but the longest suspension FIFA has imposed for an offence at a World Cup was eight games for Italy’s Mauro Tassotti for breaking Spain’s Luis Enrique’s nose in 1994 with an elbow.
Uruguay could potentially play four more games in the tournament, and it would be a surprise if Suarez were to be given a ban of a shorter duration.