Suarez at centre of another biting scandal

Last updated 07:12 25/06/2014
Steven Gerrard
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Steven Gerrard of England looks on after a 0-0 draw with England in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Giorgio Chiellini
THAT HURTS: Italy's Giorgio Chiellini shows his shoulder after the alleged bite.
Luis Suarez, Giorgio Chiellini
CONTRASTING REACTIONS: Luis Suarez holds his teeth while Giorgio Chiellini remonstrates after the clash.

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Uruguay striker Luis Suarez was at the centre of another biting storm this morning and could face a two-year ban after appearing to sink his teeth into the shoulder of Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during the teams' decisive World Cup Group D game.

Suarez and Chiellini clashed in the Italian penalty area 10 minutes from the end of the match and the furious Italian pulled open his shirt to show the mark to the referee.

Agency photographs show what appear to be bite marks on his shoulder.

The Italians were still complaining about the incident when Uruguay captain Diego Godin scored with an 81st-minute header to secure a 1-0 win that sent them into the second round and eliminated Italy.

''It was ridiculous not to send Suarez off,'' Chiellini told Rai TV.

''It is clear, clear-cut and then there was the obvious dive afterwards because he knew very well that he did something that he shouldn't have done.''

Suarez was banned for 10 games last year after biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic in a Premier League game and in 2010 he was suspended for seven games for biting PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal while playing for Ajax Amsterdam.

Four years ago he missed Uruguay's World Cup semi-final against the Netherlands after being sent for a handball on the line that denied Ghana what would have been a match-winning goal in the final minute of extra time in a last-eight match.

For the latest incident, the Uruguayan star could be banned by Fifa for up to 24 matches or two years, according to the governing body's disciplinary rules.

Still, any action could depend on Fifa judging the case using video evidence - which Fifa President Sepp Blatter is on record this year as supporting.

''Video evidence can contribute greatly to fair play, provided the sport's disciplinary bodies are prepared to use it - and they should,'' Blatter wrote in his column in Fifa's weekly magazine in February.

Now, the future of Suarez at the World Cup depends in the first instance on the report of Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez.

This morning, Fifa said only that it was waiting for Rodriguez's report before evaluating it. That is a standard procedure following every match at a Fifa competition.  

There is a World Cup precedent for video review.

In a 1994 quarterfinal, Italy defender Mauro Tassotti's elbow to the face of Spain's Luis Enrique escaped the referee's attention.

Fifa later banned Tassotti for eight international matches.

Rodriguez and his two assistants appear not to have seen - or realised the severity - of Suarez apparently biting Chiellini late in this morning's match.

Had they done so, or thought so, Suarez would surely have been shown a red card for ''serious foul play.''  

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The code allows for suspensions to be applied by time or number of international matches.

''Unless otherwise specified, it may not exceed twenty-four matches or twenty-four months,'' Article 19 of the Fifa code states.

The use of video evidence is an intriguing aspect of this case. Television and still images have clearly shown Chiellini pulling aside his blue shirt to reveal marks on his left shoulder.

Proof, which can be presented to a Fifa disciplinary hearing, includes ''audio or video recordings.''

If the referee's report to Fifa does not fully deal with an incident, the code appears to allow challenges.

Fifa would find it hard to resist overwhelming evidence provided by the 34 cameras trained on each World Cup match as part of its high-tech broadcasting operation.

- AP

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