FIFA probes Suarez 'bite' incident

Andover Advertiser: Uruguay's Luis Suarez, right, is under investigation by FIFA (AP) Uruguay's Luis Suarez, right, is under investigation by FIFA (AP)

Luis Suarez's World Cup could be over after FIFA charged the Uruguay striker for appearing to bite Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during their sides' World Cup match on Tuesday.

Suarez and the Uruguayan FA have been given until 5pm local time (9pm BST) on Wednesday to provide evidence to support his case after the incident in the latter stages of the Group D encounter in Natal, which Uruguay won 1-0 to secure a last-16 clash against Colombia.

FIFA's disciplinary code sets a maximum ban of 24 matches or two years, which would obviously rule Suarez out of Saturday's encounter against Colombia in Rio de Janeiro and, if they overcome Jose Pekerman's side, any subsequent World Cup fixtures.

The incident has tarnished what should be a joyous occasion for Uruguay, who pipped Italy to second place in the group and progression to the knockout stages, and Jim Boyce, Britain's FIFA vice-president and head of FIFA's referees committee, expressed concern about Suarez's actions.

He said: "I have watched the incident several times on television. There is no doubt Luis Suarez is a fantastic footballer but, once again, his actions have left him open to severe criticism.

"FIFA must investigate the incident seriously and take whatever disciplinary action deemed necessary."

Suarez brushed off the incident and defended himself on Uruguayan television after the flashpoint.

He said: "These situations happen on the pitch, we were both just inside the area, he struck me in the chest with his shoulder and he hit me in the eye as well.

"These are things that happen on the pitch and you shouldn't attach so much importance to them.

"I'm very happy to have qualified. We are taking each game as it comes, we know that we're in a difficult situation, we're at our limits now."

Chiellini, however, insists that Suarez knew exactly what he was doing and was dismayed that he was not sent off for his apparent actions.

The 29-year-old defender told Rai TV: "It was ridiculous not to send Suarez off, it is clear, clear-cut and there was the obvious dive afterwards because he knew very well that he did something that he shouldn't have done."

Suarez has twice been banned for biting opponents - for 10 matches in 2013 for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic, and in 2010 he was given a seven-game ban while playing for Ajax for biting PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal.

FIFA has wasted little time in acting to his latest misdemeanour, with a statement on its official website saying: "FIFA can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the player Luis Suarez of Uruguay following an apparent breach of art. 48 and/or art. 57 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil match Italy-Uruguay played on 24 June 2014.

"The player and/or the Uruguayan FA are invited to provide with their position and any documentary evidence they deem relevant until 25 June 2014, 5pm, Brasilia time."

Suarez's club, Liverpool, have declined to comment on the latest controversy surrounding their player.

It is understood the club intend to allow FIFA's process to run its course.

As well as the Chelsea biting incident, Suarez, 27, has been involved in numerous controversies since joining Liverpool in 2011.

In December 2011 he was banned for eight matches for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra, while he incurred a further suspension for making an offensive gesture towards Fulham fans.

He has also attracted regular criticism for diving.

FIFA head of media Delia Fischer said the disciplinary committee's investigation into Suarez was "still at the early stages" and that FIFA could not give guidelines to the independent panel on any sanctions.

She told a news conference in Rio de Janeiro: "We are still at early stages and the player has a right to be heard.

"We cannot speak about what could potentially happen, this is in the hands of the disciplinary committee.

"The disciplinary committee under the chairmanship of Claudio Sulser is independent and it is up to them to apply the disciplinary code.

"Only then are they in a position to refer to the relevant articles of the code.

"We have seen a lot of rumours so let the disciplinary committee do their duty and wait until they have done that.

"The body deciding the sanction decides the scope and duration of it.

"We will communicate as soon as we have an update."

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