Monday 19 February 2018

Kick Suarez out of World Cup - Chiellini

Italian defender demands FIFA show 'courage' and act after becoming the third opponent to be bitten by controversial Uruguayan striker

Giorgio Chiellini pulls open his shirt to show the bite mark to the referee after he clashed with Luis Suarez (inset)
Giorgio Chiellini pulls open his shirt to show the bite mark to the referee after he clashed with Luis Suarez (inset)
Uruguay's Luis Suarez reacts after clashing with Italy's Giorgio Chiellini
The alleged biting incident
Italy's Giorgio Chiellini complains after Uruguay's Luis Suarez ran into his shoulder with his teeth during the group D World Cup soccer match between Italy and Uruguay at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil. AP

Mark Ogden

Giorgio Chiellini demanded that Fifa show the "courage" to ban Luis Suarez from the World Cup after becoming the third opponent to be bitten by the controversial Uruguayan striker.

The Italy defender was left with visible teeth marks on his left shoulder after clashing with Suarez in the 79th minute of Uruguay's 1-0 victory in Natal, a result which confirmed their progression from Group D and eliminated the Italians.

Fifa immediately opened an investigation into what was one of the most shocking episodes of player behaviour in World Cup history.

With Fifa's disciplinary code stipulating a maximum suspension of 24 matches or two years for offences of an extreme nature, Suarez could yet find himself being penalised with a record ban for an on-field incident.

After reacting furiously on the pitch following the incident, which went unseen by the Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez, Juventus defender Chiellini branded Suarez a "sneak" who is protected by Fifa because of his high-profile status.

Suarez served a 10-game ban in the Premier League in 2013 for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic, having committed the same offence playing for Ajax three years earlier.

"Suarez is a sneak and he gets away with it because Fifa want their stars to play in the World Cup," Chiellini said.

"I would love to see if they have the courage to do anything against him. It was ridiculous not to send Suarez off. It is clear, clear-cut.

"And then there was the obvious dive afterwards because he knew very well that he did something that he shouldn't have done."

Suarez said of the bite claims: "These situations happen on the field. I had contact with his shoulder, nothing more, things like that happen all the time."

He added on possible action by the game's ruling body: "I don't know anything, if Fifa analyse each case separately it's going to be complicated."

Despite photographic evidence supporting Chiellini's claim to have been bitten, the centre-half was accused of "crying" by Uruguay's injured captain Diego Lugano.

"The worst of everything is the attitude of Chiellini," Lugano said. "He's a great player with an enormous status, but it doesn't correspond with Italian football as sportsmen leaving the field, crying and appealing against a rival. As a man, he disappointed me."

A Fifa spokesperson said: "We are awaiting the official match reports and will gather all the necessary elements in order to evaluate the matter."

Suarez, who was suspended for seven games by the Dutch FA for biting PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal while playing for Ajax in November 2010, grinned as he walked through the post-match interview area when asked repeatedly whether he had bitten Chiellini.

Despite the shocking nature of the incident, Suarez was defended by the Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez, who accused the media of a witch hunt.

"There seems there is animosity against this player," Tabarez said. "He just came out of a difficult moment and he has been penalised, but there are people hiding behind the tree waiting for something to happen."

Italy manager Cesare Prandelli, who announced his resignation following his team's defeat, supported Chiellini's claims by admitting he had seen the injury to the defender's shoulder.

"I didn't see the images of Suarez but I did see the bite marks in Chiellini's shoulder," Prandelli said. "It is a shame, a real shame. The assistants of the referee were so busy, they didn't see anything." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport