Stunned Suarez handed 10-game ban for biting

Luis Suarez and Liverpool were left “shocked and disappointed” after the striker was hit with a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic – a sanction that could see him suspended from domestic football until October.
Luis SuarezLuis Suarez
Luis Suarez

The severity of the ban caught Liverpool by surprise and the club, who will wait to see the written reasons today before deciding whether to appeal, will now have to make a decision over whether to sell the Uruguay striker.

Suarez missed eight matches last season due to his racist abuse ban, and following the punishment imposed by a Football Association independent regulatory commission now faces the prospect of missing the last four games of this campaign and the first six of next season.

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Liverpool’s managing director Ian Ayre, who earlier this week insisted the club were determined to keep Suarez, said in response to the decision: “Both the club and player are shocked and disappointed at the severity of today’s independent regulatory commission decision. We await the written reasons tomorrow before making any further comment.”

Suarez had admitted violent conduct after biting Ivanovic during the 2-2 draw with Chelsea on Sunday but challenged the FA’s contention that he deserved more than a three-match ban.

The commission, however, agreed with the FA, which said in statement: “A three-person independent regulatory commission today upheld the FA’s claim that a suspension of three matches was clearly insufficient and the player will serve a further seven first-team matches in addition to the standard three. The suspension begins with immediate effect.”

Suarez has until midday tomorrow to appeal the additional suspension, above the standard three matches.

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Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson believes the latest ban leaves the club in a difficult position.

Lawrenson said: “The thing about Suarez is he is now becoming a constant offender, and Liverpool are going to have to make a decision re Suarez and the future.

“I think it’s a possibility he will have to leave. They are trying to sell season tickets at the moment and people will be saying ‘hold on a minute, is Suarez going be here, is he going to miss 20 per cent of the season?’ It’s a really tough one for Liverpool.”

The 10-game ban is not only harsher than the eight-match suspension handed to Suarez in December 2011 for racially abusing Patrice Evra, but is significantly more than the four-game ban given to John Terry last year for racist abuse. The FA, though, is expected to announce a more severe minimum ban for racism.