Saturday 27 December 2014

Uruguay boss Oscar Tabarez claims Suarez is a target of "certain sections of the press" after bite controversy

Published 24/06/2014 | 20:44

Giogio Chiellini's shoulder following Luis Suarez's bite
Italy's Giorgio Chiellini shows his shoulder, claiming he was bitten by Uruguay's Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez of Uruguay reacts during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas
Italy's Giorgio Chiellini shows his shoulder, claiming he was bitten by Uruguay's Luis Suarez, as Uruguay's Gaston Ramirez approaches during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal
Uruguay's Diego Godin (top R) celebrates his goal against Italy during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal
Uruguay's Luis Suarez (L) and Martin Silva (R) hug their teammate Diego Godin (not visible) after he scored a goal against Italy
Uruguay's Luis Suarez (R) argues with first assistant referee Marvin Torrentera of Mexico during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match against Italy at the Dunas arena in Natal
Italy's Mario Balotelli (top) fouls Uruguay's Alvaro Pereira (6) as they fight for the ball during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal
Italy's Mario Balotelli (9) and Uruguay's Cristian Rodriguez (7) battle for the ball during the group D World Cup soccer match between Italy and Uruguay at the Arena das Dunas in Natal
Uruguay's Luis Suarez, right, and Italy's Andrea Barzagli (15) challenge for the ball during the group D World Cup soccer match between Italy and Uruguay at the Arena das Dunas in Natal
Uruguay's Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez (top R) and Italy's Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli watch Italy's goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon deflecting the ball during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal
Uruguay's Luis Suarez fights for the ball with Italy's goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal
Italy's Andrea Pirlo fights for the ball with Uruguay's Martin Caceres during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal
Italy's coach Cesare Prandelli (R) speaks to Mario Balotelli during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match againt Uruguay at the Dunas arena in Natal
Italy's Mario Balotelli jumps on top of Uruguay's Alvaro Pereira during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal
Uruguay's Diego Godin (L) and Italy's Ciro Immobile fight for the ball during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal
Italy's Leonardo Bonucci, left, tackles Uruguay's Luis Suarez during the group D World Cup soccer match between Italy and Uruguay at the Arena das Dunas in Natal
Uruguay's Luis Suarez (R) fights for the ball with Italy's Andrea Pirlo during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal
Italy's Mario Balotelli reacts as he receives a yellow card from referee Marco Rodriguez of Mexico during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match against Uruguay at the Dunas arena in Natal

Uruguay manager Oscar Tabarez claimed that Luis Suarez "is the target of certain sections of the press" after the Liverpool striker provoked another moment of controversy by appearing to bite Giorgio Chiellini during his side's 1-0 win over Italy.

Tabarez insisted he had not seen a replay of the incident, which took place moments before Diego Godin's match-winning header in the 82nd minute which saw the South Americans qualify for the second round of the World Cup, but went unnoticed by match referee Marco Rodriguez Moreno.

Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio had been given a straight red card on the hour mark for a stamp on Eligio Alvarelo, and Chiellini was adamant that Suarez should have also been sent off for the bite.

However, Tabarez backed Suarez in his post-match press conference.

"I would like to see it (a replay of the bite) first," said the manager.

"If it happened then I think the referee had to have seen it first. I didn't see the incident and I don't want anyone to speak for me about it.

"Suarez, in addition to errors that he may have made, is a target for certain sections of the media."

Tabarez faced repeated questions about Suarez's bite, but refused to criticise his star man.

"If we believe people are attacking him, as has happened in this press conference, then we're going to defend him," he said.

"He's a vital player, a very important person to the group."

Suarez was banned for seven matches for biting an opponent while playing for Ajax, and last year was suspended for 10 Barclays Premier League games for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.

FIFA has announced it will investigate the alleged incident with Liverpool's Uruguay striker likely to face a lengthy ban if found guilty.

FIFA's disciplinary code sets a maximum ban of 24 matches or two years, but the longest ban in World Cup history was eight games for Italy's Mauro Tassotti for breaking Spain's Luis Enrique's nose in 1994 with an elbow.

Following the result and Italy's elimination, manager Cesare Prandelli told a press conference that he is going to resign.

Suarez, meanwhile, avoided the controversy of his latest alleged biting incident as he hailed Uruguay's march into the World Cup knockout stages.

Television replays and photographs appeared to back up Chiellini's claims he had been bitten by Suarez.

The striker said in quotes carried by the Spanish newspaper El Pais: "I was relaxed because I knew we'd have chances. And then came the goal.

"Uruguay is celebrating, we have qualified and now we are going to celebrate this moment because next we have to start thinking about our next opponents.

"The truth is that the team worked incredibly hard and we deserve it.

"After making a bad start to the group against Costa Rica, the best we deserved was this and we showed that we deserve to stay in this World Cup.

"The heat was incredible and we were worn out."

For Chiellini, who made his upset known immediately, there was no doubting what had gone on.

Speaking to Gazzetta, he said: "The disparity in judgement has been evident. Marchisio's sending off was ridiculous but more so the fact that Suarez wasn't sent off. There's the will to protect champions but... The referee should have shown him a red card. There's a clear simulation after, a clear sign that he had done something that he wasn't supposed to.

"The gesture is clear. Referees document themselves on players and Suarez has a very clear history. The referee has given a clear address, he hasn't spoken throughout the game. These are episodes that condition. The only way they could have hurt us was from set pieces and so it was.

"There will be talk of failure but I would something to say about it. We are not happy with how things have gone but we were the only ones to deserve to progress to the next round."

The Suarez affair took the attention away from Prandelli's decision to go.

Prandelli announced at his post-match press conference: "I talked to the president of the federation.. and gave my resignation.

"The technical set-up didn't work, and I take all responsibility for that.

"Something has changed since my contract was renewed. I don't know why. I chose a certain technical plan and that's why I'm resigning - because it did not work."

Prandelli was not the only man to fall on his sword with president Giancarlo Abete also stepping down.

He said he would recommend that Prandelli changes his mind, but that he himself was going.

"I will go to the board and offer my irrevocable resignation too. I had already made this decision before the World Cup," he said.

Here is some of the reaction on twitter following the Suarez controversy:

View the story "Twitter reacts to Luis Suarez' alleged bite on Giorgio Chiellini" on Storify

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