Thursday 25 December 2014

Reds non-committal over Suarez

Published 26/06/2014 | 17:12

Liverpool will reflect on the full implications of Luis Suarez's four-month ban from all footballing activities over the next few days
Liverpool will reflect on the full implications of Luis Suarez's four-month ban from all footballing activities over the next few days

Liverpool will spend the next few days digesting the implications of Luis Suarez's four-month ban from all football activities before deciding on their next course of action.

The Uruguay striker has been suspended for nine international matches for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini and will miss at least 12 games for the Reds as a result of FIFA's extension of the punishment to include club football.

Suarez has also been fined 100,000 Swiss francs (just under £66,000) and any appeal against the sanctions - which includes exclusion from all football stadia for the period of suspension and prevention of him training with the club - must come from the Uruguay Football or Suarez but it will not stop him missing the rest of the World Cup.

As a result Liverpool's hands are tied at the moment, particularly as they have not been involved in the disciplinary process which means they are now making attempts to ascertain the full details of the process.

In a short statement chief executive Ian Ayre said: "Liverpool Football Club will wait until we have seen and had time to review the FIFA Disciplinary Committee report before making any further comment."

The club are reluctant to comment at greater length until they have pieced together all the parts of the case and subsequent judgement on Suarez.

They have received no documentation from FIFA or the Uruguay Football Association and are as yet unaware of what was said in Suarez's defence.

Press Association Sport understands the club are taking specialist advice - which includes legal counsel - over what they see as an unprecedented incident.

They want to ensure their response is thorough, responsible and calm, and it is likely to be early next week before officials are in a position to comment further.

However, it seems unlikely at this stage that there will be any move to offload Suarez.

The club stood by him steadfastly through his suspension for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra and also his 10-match ban for biting - his second such offence after a previous incident with Ajax in Holland - Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.

Principal owner John Henry fiercely rebutted attempts by Arsenal to sign the 27-year-old 12 months ago and the fact Fenway Sports Group have never wanted to sell Suarez means they are unlikely to change their position now even in the light of the player's latest disgrace.

There has already been plenty of speculation over Real Madrid and Barcelona vying for his signature this summer despite Suarez signing a bumper new contract in December and whether either side decide to follow that up with a firm offer will depend on whether the two Spanish clubs' opinion of the striker has changed as a result of this incident.

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers, who enlisted the services of renowned sports psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters to help behind the scenes at Anfield, made huge progress with Suarez last season after the South American alienated his manager and team-mates by trying to manufacture a transfer last summer.

After a brief period of exclusions he was re-integrated into the squad quickly and, having missed the first five matches of the season as the Ivanovic ban was carried over, returned sharper than ever to finish as the Premier League's leading scorer with 31 goals in 33 matches.

Press Association

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