Monday 22 January 2018

"It's our duty to see justice done" - FIFA disciplinary panel member on Luis Suarez bite

Uruguay's Luis Suarez uses his cell phone at a hotel in Natal today
Uruguay's Luis Suarez uses his cell phone at a hotel in Natal today

Luis Suarez defence team has made it's submission to FIFA and a decision from the world governing body is expected tomorrow evening.

"We have to resolve it either today or tomorrow," FIFA disciplinary panel member Martin Hong told reporters Wednesday. "It's our duty to see justice done."

"We have it deal with it before the next game," the Hong Kong official said, referring to Uruguay's match Saturday against Colombia in the Round of 16 at Maracana Stadium.

Suarez' lawyer branded his attack on Giorgio Chiellini “casual play” that saw him suffer greater injury than his opponent.

Alejandro Balbi, who is also on the Uruguayan Football Association board, argued on his client’s behalf that an English, Italian and Brazilian conspiracy was behind the decision to charge the striker with biting an opponent during his country’s victory over Italy.

Suarez is facing a heavy sanction if found guilty by Fifa of the third biting offence of his career, with its disciplinary committee forensically examining footage of his clash with Azzurri defender Chiellini.

Tuesday’s shocking incident completely overshadowed a Uruguay victory that saw them progress to the World Cup knockout phase at the expense of Italy.

“We don’t have any doubts that this has happened because it’s Suarez and secondly because Italy was eliminated,” Balbi told Uruguayan radio as he prepared to travel to Rio de Janeiro to plead his client’s case.

“There’s a lot of pressure from England and Italy. We’re polishing off a defence argument.”

That argument, to be presented by Balbi and Uruguayan FA president Wilmar Valdez, will include accusing Chiellini of injuring Suarez’s eye in fending off the striker as he apparently sunk his teeth into the Italian’s shoulder.

Balbi said: “There is a possibility that they ban him, because there are precedents, but we’re convinced that it was an absolutely casual play, because if Chiellini can show a scratch on one shoulder, Suarez can show a bruised and almost shut eye.

“If every player starts showing the injuries he suffers and they open inquiries for them, everything will be way too complicated in the future. We’re going to use all the arguments possible so that Luis gets out in the best possible way.”

Balbi’s argument chimed with that of Uruguayan media, which has refused to acknowledge the bite even took place and blamed the English media for misrepresenting the incident.

Suarez’s lawyer dragged Brazil into the alleged conspiracy on Wednesday by citing the bitter rivalry between the World Cup hosts and his own country dating back to their famous win in the 1950 final in Rio.

“You shouldn’t forget that we’re rivals of many and we can be for the organiser in the future,” Balbi added.

“This does not go against what might have happened, but there’s no doubt that Suarez is a rock in the shoe for many.”

Uruguay captain Diego Lugano defended Suarez at a press conference in Natal, insisting he had the support of all his team-mates.

The defender said: "The pictures don't show anything. They show an approximation.

"I find it funny the importance given to an isolated incident when no one pays attention to incidents which endanger the health of players.

"Luis has charisma and he creates an advantage. An opponent tries to take it away, of course - that's as old as the game itself.

"But don't worry, he'll get up as he's always done - and he'll play with the whole team on his shoulders."

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