RIO DE JANEIRO – FIFA opted to punish Luis Suarez heavily for biting an opponent in a World Cup match because the Uruguayan showed no remorse for the incident and previous bans had not changed his behavior, according to an internal FIFA document.
Suarez was hit on Thursday with a nine-game suspension on playing competitive matches for Uruguay and a four-month ban from any soccer-related activity, a record punishment for a player at a World Cup.
The decision ended the involvement in the tournament in Brazil of one of the sport’s best players and prompted fury in the South American nation at the scale of the punishment for Suarez who was given a hero’s welcome on his return.
“At no time did the player show any kind of remorse or admit to any violation of FIFA rules and therefore showed no awareness of having committed any infraction,” the FIFA document, seen by Reuters on Saturday, said.
The document, drawn up by FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee which heard the Suarez case, said the bite on Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini on Tuesday took place when the two players were not close to the ball, which was an aggravating factor, and was a “deliberate, intentional and unprovoked” act.
The document said a six-game ban — the minimum in cases of a player spitting at another player — was considered insufficient in this “extraordinary” case.
The decision to also ban Suarez from any soccer-related activity for four months was taken because the committee members felt two previous bans on Suarez for biting, while playing for clubs in Europe, had been ineffective.
A FIFA spokeswoman said she could not comment on the case as discussions by the Disciplinary Committee were confidential.
Brazilian newspaper Estado de Sao Paulo reported on the document detailing the committee’s decision earlier on Saturday.
It included excerpts of Suarez’s explanation of the event, in which he said his initial contact with Chiellini caused him to lose balance and fall on the Italian.
“Then, my face hit the player, leaving me with a bruise and a lot of pain in my teeth which caused the referee to stop the game,” Suarez was quoted as saying.
“That is what happened and at no point did anything happen that can be described as ‘biting’ or trying to bite,” he said.
The Disciplinary Committee meeting which ruled on the Suarez case included representatives of Pakistan, the Cook Islands, Singapore, Panama, Hong Kong, South Africa and Switzerland, the newspaper reported.
Uruguay has appealed the FIFA ban, which it says is excessive, a view shared even by Chiellini.
Weather worries Dutch
Fortaleza, Brazil — Hot and humid weather in Brazil’s northeast is a concern for the Netherlands with players working hard to get used to the tough conditions for their clash against Mexico in the 2014 World Cup round of 16 match, coach Louis van Gaal said on Saturday.
“I was here a year ago and it was hotter then. Even so, the humidity is so high, it will affect the match and that is the reason we tried to get the players to be as fit as possible,” Van Gaal said at a news conference at Castelao Arena ahead of the match on Sunday.
“I’m quite conscious that it will also affect the Mexican team and I know they’re much more used to it than we are.”