Luis Suarez's World Cup is over as he gets record nine-match, four-month ban for biting
Uruguay will appeal, but star's tournament is over; Liverpool considering his future; sponsorship deals may be in doubt
Uruguay star Luis Suarez was on Thursday suspended for nine matches for biting an opponent as World Cup chiefs struck back with the heaviest sanction against a player in the tournament's history.
Suarez, who sank his teeth into Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini during his team's group D win on Tuesday, was also banned from all football activity for four months and fined 100,000 Swiss francs (HK$866,500).
"Such behaviour cannot be tolerated on any football pitch, and in particular not at a Fifa World Cup when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field," said Fifa disciplinary committee chief Claudio Sulser.
The Suarez suspension takes effect immediately and he will not be able to play in Uruguay's second-round match against Colombia on Saturday in Rio de Janeiro, even with an appeal.
The Uruguay Football Association said that it would appeal.
The four-month ban means he will also be prevented from entering the stadium for Saturday's game.
Suarez will not be able to train or attend matches with his English club Liverpool until late October, meaning he will miss at least nine Premier League games and the start of their Champions League campaign.
"Liverpool Football Club will wait until we have seen and had time to review the Fifa disciplinary committee report before making any further comment," Liverpool chief executive officer Ian Ayre said on the club's website.
The sanction is the toughest ever handed down for foul play at a World Cup, surpassing the eight-match ban that was given against Italy's Mauro Tassotti in 1994 for an elbowing incident which broke the nose of Spain's Luis Enrique.
It is the third time Liverpool star Suarez has been banned for biting players following incidents in 2010 in the Dutch league and 2013 in England.
He also received a long ban in 2011 for racially abusing Manchester United's French international Patrice Evra.
"The disciplinary committee took into account all the factors of the case and the degree of Mr Suarez's guilt in accordance with the relevant provisions of the code," Sulser said.
Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce said: "Hopefully he will realise now that behaviour of this type will not be tolerated under any circumstances."
Uruguayans were incensed at the decision. "They're acting as if he were a criminal, a terrorist," said Maria Cardozo, a 48 year-old administrative worker. "They're exaggerating the aggression although I do think it warranted some sort of punishment."
"I don't want to get into conspiracy theories, but it seems that Fifa isn't interested in letting small countries such as Uruguay advance," said 62-year-old lawyer Andres Ramirez.
An exception among Uruguayans was ageing national hero Alcides Ghiggia, who scored Uruguay's World Cup-winning goal against Brazil in the 1950 tournament.
"This boy's clearly not right in the head. That's just not something you do on the pitch," said Ghiggia.
Sportswear giant Adidas said it would stop using Suarez, one of its key promotional stars, for World Cup adverts.
"Adidas fully backs Fifa's decision," said a spokeswoman. "We do not accept the recent behaviour of Luis Suarez and shall remind him of the high standards we expect of our players."
Agence France-Presse, Reuters, Associated Press