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How can Lionel Messi get away with a punch and not Luis Suarez?

The Uruguayan FA has asked “why now with Luis Suarez?” after Fifa opened an investigation into a punch by the Liverpool striker, while other incidents, including one involving Lionel Messi, have gone unchecked.

Video footage emerged last month following Urguguay's World Cup qualifier against Chile which appeared to show Suarez punching his opponent Gonzalo Jara in the face.

Last week, Fifa announced that they had opened an investigation after learning that Argentine referee Nestor Pitana had missed the incident during the game in Santiago.

But Uruguayan football's governing body has expressed dismay that this particular incident has been highlighted - and plan to submit video evidence of other incidents missed by referees for which no further action has been taken. That evidence is expected to include an alleged punch by World Player of the Year Messi, while on duty for Argentina.

The Uruguayan FA have also argued that Suarez only acted in retaliation after being "grabbed by the genitals".

"Why now with Suarez? This is the first time Fifa is acting after the event in (the South American) qualifiers," Uruguayan FA (AUF) president Sebastian Bauza told Reuters.

Bauza, who last week claimed Suarez was persecuted especially in England where he plays for Liverpool, said Spanish lawyers appointed by the AUF would present evidence of similar off-the-ball incidents to world football's governing body.

He said he did not have the specific information on the other incidents, but referred to a "punch" by Messi he allegedly threw at a Bolivian player without consequences.

"We think the fair play policies are good but we want to make clear that this was a reaction by Suarez to Jara's provocation when he was grabbed by the genitals," Bauza said.

"There were other incidents involving Jara against Suarez. Football is a contact sport and there's a lot that referees miss," Bauza added.

"There is footage of a lunge by Jara at (Argentina's) Gonzalo Higuain, who then didn't play for Real Madrid for two months, and no disciplinary action was taken."

Suarez, who is suspended for Uruguay's next qualifier away to Venezuela on June 11 after a booking in the Chile match, could face a longer ban if Fifa rules against him.

Independent News Service