The heaviest punishment ever inflicted on a player at a World Cup finals effectively booted Suarez out of the tournament in shame following his clash with Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini on Tuesday.
It is the third time that the 27-year-old Liverpool forward, one of the most brilliant footballers in the world, but also one of the most temperamental, has been banned for biting an opponent.
“Such behaviour cannot be tolerated on any football pitch, and in particular not at a FIFA World Cup when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field,” said FIFA Disciplinary Committee chairman Claudio Sulser in a statement.
“The Disciplinary Committee took into account all the factors of the case and the degree of Mr Suarez’s guilt in accordance with the relevant provisions of the (FIFA disciplinary) code,” he added.
The nine match ban would be effective immediately, ruling him out of Uruguay’s World Cup second round match on Saturday against Colombia, FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer said.
As part of the ban on football activities, Suarez will not be allowed into a stadium for four months. He was also fined 100,000 Swiss francs (82,000 euros, $112,000).
FIFA said that Suarez was told of the ban on Thursday. Uruguayan officials had previously insisted there was not enough evidence to take action against him.
Suarez bit Chiellini during Uruguay’s 1-0 win over Italy in World Cup Group D on Tuesday.
The referee did not immediately see the incident but FIFA ordered an inquiry straight after the match following protests by Chiellini, who claimed he was bitten and who showed off teeth marks on his shoulder. Images of the bite spread on the internet.
Suarez had initially shrugged off the incident. “These are just things that happen out on the pitch. It was just the two of us inside the area and he bumped into me with his shoulder,” Suarez told Uruguayan television.
Suarez was dubbed ‘the cannibal of Ajax’ after he bit PSV Einhoven’s Otman Bakkal shoulder in a Dutch league game in November 2010. Suarez was later handed a seven game ban.
In April 2013, he bit Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic’s on the arm in a Premier League match. He was given a 10 game suspension for that offence.
The Uruguayan has also been in trouble over on the field comments. He hurled racial abuse at Manchester United’s Patrice Evra during a Premier League game in October 2011.
The English FA banned him for eight matches and fined him 40,000 pounds. He refused to shake hands with Evra when the two teams met later that season.
His ban will run until the end of October, meaning he would miss around two months of the 2014/15 Premier League season.
FULL FIFA TEXT
“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has reached a decision in the case related to Luis Suarez of Uruguay following an incident that occurred during the FIFA World Cup match between Italy and Uruguay played on 24 June 2014.
“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided that:
“· The player Luis Suárez is regarded as having breached art. 48 par. 1 lit. d of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC) (assault), and art. 57 of the FDC (an act of unsporting behaviour towards another player).
“· The player Luis Suárez is to be suspended for nine (9) official matches. The first match of this suspension is to be served in the upcoming FIFA World Cup fixture between Colombia and Uruguay on 28 June 2014. The remaining match suspensions shall be served in Uruguay’s next FIFA World Cup match(es), as long as the team qualifies, and/or in the representative team’s subsequent official matches in accordance with art. 38 par. 2a) of the FDC.
“· The player Luis Suárez is banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) for a period of four (4) months in accordance with art. 22 of the FDC.
“· A stadium ban is pronounced against the player Luis Suárez in accordance with art. 21 of the FDC as follows: the player Luis Suárez is prohibited from entering the confines of any stadium during the period of the ban (point 3). The player Luis Suárez is prohibited from entering the confines of any stadium in which the representative team of Uruguay is playing while he has to serve the nine-match suspension (point 2).
“· The player Luis Suárez is ordered to pay a fine in the amount of 100,000 Swiss francs.
“The decision was notified to the player and the Uruguayan FA today.
“‘Such behaviour cannot be tolerated on any football pitch, and in particular not at a FIFA World Cup when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field. The Disciplinary Committee took into account all the factors of the case and the degree of Mr Suárez’s guilt in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Code. The decision comes into force as soon it is communicated,’ said Claudio Sulser, chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee.”