FIFA chief Jerome Valcke has claimed Liverpool are not being punished by the four-month worldwide ban imposed on Luis Suarez for biting and told the striker to seek treatment for his behaviour.
Suarez’s ban for biting an opponent while playing at the World Cup for Uruguay means he would miss 13 matches for Liverpool between the start of the season and the end of October. He is also banned for nine international games and has been fined 100,000 Swiss francs (£66,000).
Suarez’s lawyer has described the sanctions as “grotesque and absurd” and that “all that was missing was life imprisonment”.
Valcke, FIFA’s secretary general, told a news conference in Rio that the ban reflected the “unacceptable” behaviour on the world stage and that the 27-year-old should “seek treatment” as it was his third biting offence. Liverpool are taking legal advice over the case but Valcke claimed the worldwide ban was correct.
He said: “It’s not Liverpool who is punished. It’s the player who is punished.
“What happened with Suarez was far beyond the fair play and the attitude you should have when you play at the World Cup.
“When you are with the 32 teams among 23 players in each team you have to show the best of the best as they are the example for the rest of the world.
“I applaud the decision which was made by the committee to sanction the player in this way because what he did is unacceptable and not the image we want to give to the world.”
He added: “I think he should find a way to stop doing it. He should go through a treatment and find something, it is definitely wrong. It is more than one incident that’s why it is has to be exemplary.”
Suarez’s victim Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini has said the punishment was “excessive” but Valcke insisted it was proportionate.
He said: “You will always find someone who will say it is excessive – so what? They are decisions made by the disciplinary committee based on what has been seen by hundreds of millions of people. It is not what you want your kids, the little ones playing football around the world to see at the World Cup. That’s not what you do at any level of football or in life.”
The international players’ union FIFPro has questioned why Liverpool should be affected by the ban and said FIFA should have included treatment and rehabilitation as part of the sanction.
An appeal is being lodged against the decision and Suarez’s lawyer Alejandro Balbi said they would take the case all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and that he remained in constant contact with Liverpool.
Hesaid: “The ban is absolutely disproportionate considering what Luis did. Julio Grondona, vice-president of FIFA, told me that he had never seen such a serious ban handed to a player.
“This is so grotesque and absurd that the CAS will have to revoke this unjust ruling.
“Unjust not just due to the number of games, but not being able to be allowed to have any relationship with football in 120 days, and then there’s the fine.”