By Mike Collett
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Uruguay striker Luis Suarez was banned for nine matches by FIFA on Thursday after being found guilty of biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini.
Suarez was also suspended from any football-related activity for four months and fined 100,000 Swiss francs ($111,000).
“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,” Claudio Sulser, chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, said 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 Code. The decision comes into force as soon it is communicated.”
The incident occurred 10 minutes before the end of Uruguay’s 1-0 win over Italy in their final Group D match in Natal on Tuesday.
Suarez will miss Uruguay’s last-16 match against Colombia in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday and will play no further part in the tournament if they progress.
The 27-year-old, voted England’s Footballer of the Year after scoring 31 Premier League goals for Liverpool last season, has now been involved in three incidents of biting opponents, the other two during league matches in the Netherlands and England.
Suarez was also banned for one match at the last World Cup in South Africa for a deliberate handball that cost Ghana a match-winning goal in a quarter-final.
($1 = 0.9005 Swiss Francs)
(Writing by Ed Osmond; Editing by Ken Ferris)