'Cannibal of Ajax' back for another bite
Liverpool striker donates club fine to Hillsborough Family Support Group
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has been fined and will donate the money to the Hillsborough Family Support Group following his shocking bite on Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.
Suarez sunk his teeth into Ivanovic's right arm during the 2-2 draw at Anfield with the Uruguayan adding insult to injury by netting the equaliser that could cost Chelsea a place in next season's Champions League.
The Blues are fourth in the Premier League standings on 62 points, just one point ahead of Tottenham Hotspur. Only the top four qualify for the Champions League.
Sunday's ugly incident has sparked widespread condemnation of Suarez and both the player and Liverpool were forced to apologise, while Reds manager Brendan Rodgers said his star forward's actions were unacceptable.
Suarez is likely to face a lengthy ban from the Football Association for his actions, but Liverpool have already punished the 26-year-old with an undisclosed fine, which he will give to the families of the 96 Liverpool fans who died in a terrace crush before an FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough in 1989.
"It is a nice gesture but it is a terrible thing under the circumstances," Hillsborough Family Support Group chair Margaret Aspinall said. Last Monday's 24th anniversary of the tragedy was marked by a memorial service at Anfield, which Suarez and his teammates attended.
"For my unacceptable behaviour yesterday the club has fined me today," Suarez wrote on Twitter. "I have asked the club to donate the money to the Hillsborough Family Support Group for the inconvenience I have created to the Liverpool fans and to Ivanovic."
Ivanovic will not press charges, but Prime Minister David Cameron's office urged the English Football Association to take action.
Earlier, Suarez said on Twitter: "I'm sad for what happened this afternoon. I apologise [to] Ivanovic and all football world for my inexcusable behaviour. I'm so sorry about it!!"
As referee Kevin Friend missed the incident, Suarez is likely to be punished with a retrospective FA suspension, but some pundits, including former Liverpool captain Graeme Souness, believe it could be time for the club to cut ties with Suarez as he is damaging their reputation.
Suarez's latest controversy has forced Liverpool's managing director Ian Ayre to cancel a trip to Australia and the Far East to deal with the fallout.
But Ayre is adamant Liverpool will not bow to outside pressure to sell Suarez at the end of the season. "It affects his future in the sense that we have to work with him on his discipline - but Luis is a very important player to the club," Ayre said.
"As we keep saying, he signed a new four-year contract last summer and we'd all love to see him here throughout that contract. He's a fantastic player, top scorer and everything we'd want in a striker, so there's no change.
"This is more about getting him back on the right track and it's largely down to [Rodgers] now to work with him on that side of his character."
Suarez has a long list of previous misdemeanours even before joining Liverpool from Ajax in 2011 and it is not the first time he has been in trouble for biting.
But, responding to calls for Suarez to be kicked out, Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor revealed the players' union would offer anger management counselling to deal with his temper. "There is no doubting his football ability, that's why it is so disappointing and embarrassing when he lets himself down," Taylor said.
"We have to work hard on anger management now. We have trained counsellors in this field and we will be offering their services to Liverpool and the player to try to improve matters."
In November 2010, Suarez was banned for seven matches and dubbed the "Cannibal of Ajax" after biting PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal.
In December 2011, he was banned for eight matches and fined £40,000 after being found guilty of racially abusing United defender Patrice Evra.
Then, just a few weeks later, he received a one-match ban for making an offensive gesture to Fulham fans and in February last year he refused to shake hands with Evra when Liverpool faced United at Old Trafford.
Suarez is also one of the candidates for the PFA Player of the Year award to be announced on Sunday, and Taylor confirmed the latest scandal would not affect his position.