28 Jun 2014

Italian defender Chiellini claims Suarez ban 'excessive'

11:11 am on 28 June 2014

Luis Suarez has flown home to Uruguay after being thrown out of the football World Cup and banned from the game for four months for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini, who criticised the punishment as "excessive".

Suarez has not publicly spoken since the sport's world governing body FIFA ruled on Friday that he cannot play in Uruguay's next nine competitive matches and suspended him from all football-related activity for four months.

The ban has sparked fury in his homeland and even Chiellini, whose shoulder Suarez sank his teeth into, came out to say he feels no anger towards the 27-year-old Liverpool striker, and that the proposed ban is excessive.

The punishment immediately ended Suarez's involvement in the World Cup, with Uruguay due to face an in-form Colombia in a round of 16 tie on Sunday.

FIFA ruled that Suarez bit Chiellini during Uruguay's final group match on Tuesday, as his side knocked Italy out of the tournament with a 1-0 victory.

As Suarez left Brazil, FIFA paved the way for former Germany World Cup-winning coach and player Franz Beckenbauer to arrive by lifting his 90-day football ban for failing to help an inquiry.

The 68-year-old German had rejected repeated requests to co-operate with an investigation into the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar but his manager said the "Der Kaiser" would now co-operate.

Suarez's ban is the longest ever imposed at a World Cup. It means he is unlikely to appear in competitive matches for his country until 2016 and he will also miss the first two months of the Premier League season in England.

Although it was the third time Suarez has been banned for biting, his team-mates and most Uruguayans jumped to defend him, believing the punishment was excessive.

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez is accusing FIFA of an indiscriminate use of power and echoed Chiellini's use of the word excessive to describe the punishment on his striker.

Tabarez refused to take questions on the topic from journalists at a news conference and says he will resign from his Strategy Committee and Technical Study Group positions at FIFA. He left the conference after 14 minutes to loud applause from Uruguayan reporters.

Former Argentine star Diego Maradona also says FIFA have over-reacted, saying they might as well handcuff Suarez and lock him up in Guantanamo prison.