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Thursday 2 October 2014

Suarez faces long biting ban

Published 23/04/2013 | 07:01

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Luis Suarez scored a late equaliser to secure Liverpool a 2-2 draw against Chelsea

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez faces an extended ban by the Football Association after he was charged with violent conduct for his bite on Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.

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The FA has stated it believes a standard three-match punishment for the offence - missed by referee Kevin Friend and so dealt with retrospectively - is "clearly insufficient in these circumstances".

As Liverpool have already fined the player for his actions in the 2-2 draw at Anfield and set about working on changing his behaviour the club will not contest the charge. Later on Tuesday they will inform the FA of that, having until 6pm to do so, and an Independent Regulatory Commission will be convened on Wednesday.

It is not the first time Suarez has been in front of the panel, having been given an eight-match suspension after being found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra last year.

However, this is an unrelated incident and will be viewed as such. Liverpool have not yet decided what representation they will have at the hearing but will do so after talks with Suarez. The club acted swiftly on Sunday evening to reprimand the 26-year-old, who apologised to Ivanovic in a late-night phone call, and followed that up with a heavy fine.

They did not take additional sanctions as they were aware FA action was likely and that was confirmed late in the day by a statement which said: "It is alleged that the conduct of Suarez constitutes violent conduct and it is the FA's contention that the standard punishment of three matches that would otherwise apply is clearly insufficient in these circumstances."

While Liverpool have taken a harder line with Suarez than with his previous transgression, learning lessons from the public relations disaster which transpired, managing director Ian Ayre has stressed they will not sell him despite widespread condemnation of his actions.

Asked whether the incident would have any effect on the player's future Ayre, who has liaised with owners Fenway Sports Group over the last 36 hours, told Liverpool FC TV: "No, not at all. It affects his future in the sense that we have to work with him on his discipline - but Luis is a very important player to the club."

The incident was lent a political dimension as Downing Street joined the chorus of disapproval with David Cameron calling on the FA to make an example of Suarez.

A spokesman from the Prime Minister's official spokesman, published in The Times, read: "It is rightly a matter for the football authorities to consider. As part of their consideration, I think it would be very understandable if they took into account the fact that high-profile players are often role models."

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