Luis Suarez 'showed no remorse' says Fifa as striker claims he lost his balance and didn't bite
Fifa says severity of punishment is because Liverpool star has not learned from previous bans; Uruguay continue to back their man
Agence France-Presse in Rio de Janeiro
Fifa opted to punish Luis Suarez heavily for biting an opponent in a World Cup match because the Uruguayan showed no remorse for the incident and previous bans had not changed his behaviour, according to a report released by world football's governing body.
In his statement to Fifa's disciplinary committee, the Liverpool striker maintained he had lost his balance and did not intentionally bite Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in the incident in last Tuesday's group D game, which Italy lost.
Suarez was hit on Thursday with a nine-game suspension on playing competitive matches for Uruguay and a four-month ban from any football-related activity, a record punishment for a player at a World Cup.
The decision prompted fury in the South American nation at the scale of the punishment for Suarez, who was given a hero's welcome on his return to Montevideo on Friday after his expulsion from the tournament.
Yesterday, ahead of Uruguay's last-16 game against Colombia in the Maracana stadium, the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) notified the governing body Fifa that it intends to appeal against the punishment.
"At no time did the player show any kind of remorse or admit to any violation of Fifa rules and therefore showed no awareness of having committed any infraction," the Fifa report notes.
It also said that the bite took place when the two players were not close to the ball and was a "deliberate, intentional and unprovoked" act.
The decision to ban Suarez from any football-related activity for four months, over and above his international ban, was taken because the disciplinary committee felt two previous bans on Suarez for biting, while playing for clubs in Europe, had been ineffective.
In his statement, Suarez is reported to have said: "I lost my balance and ended up falling on my opponent. At that moment, my face hit the player, leaving a small bruise and sharp pain in the teeth."
Television images of the incident showed clear bite marks in Chiellini's shoulder.
Suarez, who has been staying at his mother's home since his return to Montevideo, yesterday thanked fans for the support they have shown him.
"Myself and my family really appreciate it," he posted on Twitter. "Thank you very much for being by my side."
Meanwhile, former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish - the man who took Suarez to Anfield in the first place - said he believed the club would stand by their star.
"It is my belief that when you bring a player to a football club, he becomes your responsibility. You don't just turn your back on a player because he has done something wrong," Dalglish wrote in a newspaper column.
He added: "Sometimes, when people have something wrong with them, just because they don't have a plaster cast on their leg, people think they don't need help."
The calls for Suarez to seek professional help were echoed elsewhere.
Asked if he had a message for Suarez, Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke said on Friday: "I think he should find a way to stop doing it. He should go through a treatment. It is definitely wrong."
Chiellini himself expressed sympathy for Suarez and criticised Fifa's punishment. "I believe that the proposed formula is excessive," he said.
British media speculated that the Fifa sanctions could wipe a substantial amount off the value of Suarez if Liverpool decide to sell him.
Agence France-Presse, Reuters