Tuesday 20 February 2018

Mark Lawrenson: Liverpool owners will want to wash their hands of Luis Suarez

Uruguay's Luis Suarez
Uruguay's Luis Suarez

Former Liverpool and Republic of Ireland star Mark Lawrenson believes Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group will have no option but to sell Luis Suarez after his latest bite controversy.

FIFA punished Suarez with a nine-match suspension and a ban from playing for any team for four months after biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during Tuesday's World Cup match.

It is the third time Suarez has been punished for biting opponents, having been banned for seven matches while playing for Ajax in 2010 and 10 matches when at Liverpool last year.

"He is now a persistent offender and I thought actually the ban would have been much harsher," the former defender told BBC Sport.

"What does Liverpool owner John Henry do now? I would think he wants to wash his hands of Luis Suarez.

"Henry will try and get the best possible deal for Liverpool. Somebody will buy him. It is football when all is considered."

Former Brazil striker Ronaldo was fully in support of FIFA's actions.

"Football has to be seen as it is. It's educational, social. We have to use football for the good of mankind, not for evil things," he told reporters in Brazil.

Uruguay have announced that they plan to appeal the ban imposed on Suarez describing it as "excessive".

The 27-year-old is due to travel from Brazil to neighbouring Uruguay with his family later today, TV station Subrayado reported.

Former England and Liverpool midfielder John Barnes was not surprised by the severity of the sanctions.

"It is a punishment I expected. I didn't know if it could impact on his club situation but it does," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"There are systems in place to deal with these issues and it is difficult setting precedents in these situations.

"From FIFA's perspective, nine games is a long time in international football.

"His World Cup is over and it could be another 18 months before he plays for Uruguay again. It has been dealt with. Will he do it again?

"We don't know - but all FIFA can do is enforce the rules of the articles they specify.

"Will Liverpool say they want to sell him or wait until the ban is over, only they can answer that question."

Liverpool will spend the next few days digesting the implications of Luis Suarez's four-month ban from all football activities before deciding on their next course of action.

In a short statement chief executive Ian Ayre said: "Liverpool Football Club will wait until we have seen and had time to review the FIFA Disciplinary Committee report before making any further comment."

The club are reluctant to comment at greater length until they have pieced together all the parts of the case and subsequent judgement on Suarez.

They have received no documentation from FIFA or the Uruguay Football Association and are as yet unaware of what was said in Suarez's defence.

Press Association Sport understands the club are taking specialist advice - which includes legal counsel - over what they see as an unprecedented incident.

They want to ensure their response is thorough, responsible and calm, and it is likely to be early next week before officials are in a position to comment further.

However, it seems unlikely at this stage that there will be any move to offload Suarez.

Uruguay captain Diego Lugano tweeted: "Indignation, impotence, I think that is what we all feel. We would all like a more just world, but this world simply does not exist.

"Those who decide will decide, while those that are strong will be strong. They don't judge us all by the same rules.

"A hug to Luis, who will rise again as he always has done, and especially to his family, as families always suffer the most in these times. Keep feeling proud of him, he deserves it.

"We will not stop at all. We'll keep going with humility, union, commitment, in recognition of our errors and with our heads always held high."

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport