Uruguay coach quits Fifa over Suarez ban

By BBC

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said he will resign from two Fifa posts in protest at the “excessive severity” of Luis Suarez’s ban.

Tabarez said Suarez had been made a “scapegoat” following his punishment for a third biting incident.

The 67-year-old says he will leave his roles with Fifa’s technical study group and strategic committee.

“It isn’t wise to be in an organisation with those who exerted pressure to promote this decision,” he said.

Tabarez, addressing a news conference for more than 10 minutes ahead of Uruguay’s last-16 encounter with Colombia at the 2014 Fifa World Cup, claimed Suarez’s suspension was “more focused on the opinions of the media”.

He added: “We know the mistakes he’s made, but there’s another side to this person. The severity was excessive.

“Many times you forget that the scapegoat is a person, who has rights.”

Suarez bit defender Giorgio Chiellini during Uruguay’s 1-0 win over Italy on Tuesday.

The Liverpool forward has been banned from all football-related activity for four months, suspended for Uruguay’s next nine internationals and fined 100,000 Swiss francs (£65,680).

In April 2013, he was suspended for 10 matches for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, three years after he was banned for seven matches for doing the same to PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal while playing for Ajax.

Former Reds boss Kenny Dalglish, who signed Suarez for Liverpool in January 2011 for £22.7m, believes that while Suarez needs help, more understanding needs to be shown to the 27-year-old.

He told the Daily Mirror:  “It is my belief that when you bring a player to a football club, he becomes your responsibility. You don’t just turn you back on a player because he has done something wrong.

“I think you will find that Liverpool will not turn their back on Suarez, whatever the ban Fifa have decided he must serve.

“Sometimes, when people have something wrong with them, just because they don’t have a plaster cast on their leg, people think they don’t need help.”

Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke also says that Suarez should seek help during his suspension.

“He should go for treatment,” Valcke said. “It’s definitely wrong. The first time, it’s an incident. More than once, it is not. That is why the sanction has to be exemplary.”

Valcke said the bite on Chiellini had been seen “by hundreds of millions of people”, adding: “It is not what you want your kids, who are playing football around the world, to see at a World Cup.”

International players’ union FifPro said Suarez should “receive all the support he needs”.

“The focus should be on the rehabilitation and serious treatment of the player,” a statement  read. “FifPro believes that treatment must be a part of any sanction.”

FIFPro said Suarez’s prolonged absence from the game “must be addressed as it directly infringes his right to work”.

Suarez has received support from World Cup winner Diego Maradona, while Chiellini has also branded the ban “excessive”.

The Uruguayan is not allowed to train with his club or enter a football stadium, yet Spanish side Barcelona remain interested in signing the player from Liverpool.

Liverpool are seeking legal advice after being denied the services of last season’s leading Premier League scorer until the end of October.

Meanwhile, online gambling firm 888poker says it has terminated its relationship with Suarez with immediate effect.

Suarez, who flew back to the Uruguayan capital Montevideo in the early hours of Friday, denied he had bitten Chiellini, claiming the centre-back had bumped into him.

Writing on his personal website,  Italy defender Chiellini said: “I have always considered unequivocal the disciplinary interventions by the competent bodies but, at the same time, I believe that the proposed formula is excessive.

“Now inside me there’s no feelings of joy, revenge or anger against Suarez for an incident that happened on the pitch and that’s done.

“At the moment, my only thought is for Luis and his family, because they will face a very difficult period.”

Former Argentina captain and coach Maradona declared his support for Suarez on his television show De Zurda.

“The Fifa sanction is shameful, they have no sensitivity towards the fans, they might as well handcuff him and throw him in Guantanamo,” said Maradona, who was wearing a T-shirt bearing the message, ‘Luis, we are with you’.

“It hurts that they have cut short the career of a lad who is a winner. It’s an excessive suspension. Fifa cannot talk about morals to anyone.

“Suarez didn’t kill anyone. This is an unjust punishment, the act of an incredible mafia.”

Maradona interviewed Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica during the programme, broadcast on Telesur TV.

“We Uruguayans are full of anger,” said Mujica. “We kicked out Italy andEngland, no doubt they lost a lot of money.”

Mujica claimed Fifa used “a different standard” to judge certain countries. “That’s what hurts and angers us the most,” he added.

Uruguay will play Colombia in the last 16 on Saturday after qualifying from Group D behind Costa Rica.