LIVERPOOL striker Luis Suarez could be sidelined until October after the Football Association issued one of the longest bans for violent conduct in its history yesterday for his bite on Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.
Suarez received a 10-match suspension, meaning he will miss Liverpool’s remaining four fixtures this season and the first six of next term, potentially keeping him out for almost six months.
The sanction exceeds the punishments imposed on Suarez and Chelsea captain John Terry, of eight and four games respectively, after they were found guilty of using racial insults towards opponents.
Suarez admitted a charge of violent conduct but denied that the incident, which took place in Sunday’s 2-2 Premier League draw at Anfield and was missed by officials, merited an additional suspension.
The FA stated in its charge on Monday that it deemed three games insufficient and an independent regulatory commission yesterday agreed, adding a further seven.
Suarez was said to be shocked by the length of the ban and has until midday tomorrow to lodge an appeal, which Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre indicated the Anfield club would consider.
“Both the club and player are shocked and disappointed at the severity of today’s independent regulatory commission decision,” said Ayre. “We await the written reasons tomorrow [Thursday] before making any further comment.”
The ban is the Uruguay star’s second for biting an opponent, having received a seven-game suspension in November 2010 while playing for previous club Ajax in Holland.
It is also the latest in a series of controversial episodes since Suarez joined Liverpool for £23m in January 2011, including the racism ban, which prompted a T-shirt campaign of support from his team-mates.
Manchester United’s Eric Cantona was exiled for nine months in 2005 for kung-fu kicking a spectator, but only three other players have received longer bans than Suarez for violence.
Queens Park Rangers’ midfielder Joey Barton was suspended for 12 matches for lashing out at Manchester City last season, while Paolo di Canio was banned for 11 games for pushing referee Paul Alcock in 1998. Liverpool’s Kevin Keegan and Billy Bremner of Leeds received the same punishment for trading blows at the 1974 Charity Shield.
ENGLISH FOOTBALL’S LONGEST BANS
■ 2003 – Rio Ferdinand (Man United) failed to take drugs test
■ 2003 – Mark Bosnich (Chelsea) tested positive for cocaine
■ 1995 – Eric Cantona (Man United) aimed kung-fu kick at Crystal Palace supporter
■ 2004 – Adrian Mutu (Chelsea) tested positive for cocaine
■ 2011 – Kolo Toure (Man City) failed drugs test. Claimed he took wife’s diet pills
■ 1992 – Vinnie Jones (Wimbledon) ban suspended for commentary in video ‘Soccer’s Hard Men’ glorifying football violence and bad tackles
■ 2012 – Joey Barton (QPR) sent off for elbowing Carlos Tevez, then kicked Sergio Aguero and attempted to headbutt Vincent Kompany
■ 1998 – Paolo di Canio (Sheff Wed) pushed referee Paul Alcock
■ 1974 – Kevin Keegan (Liverpool) and Billy Bremner (Leeds) fight during Charity Shield
■ 2005 – David Prutton (Soton) pushed referee Alan Wiley
■ 2013 – Luis Suarez (Liverpool) bit Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)
■ 1988 – Paul Davis (Arsenal) punched Glenn Cockerill (Soton)
■ 2011 – Luis Suarez racially abused Patrice Evra (Man United)
■ 2006 – Ben Thatcher (Man City) elbowed Pedro Mendes (Portsmouth)
■ 2007 – Joey Barton (Man City) (plus six more suspended) for ABH on team-mate Ousmane Dabo
■ 1999 – Patrick Vieira (Arsenal) spat at Neil Ruddock (West Ham)
■ 1998 – David Batty (Newcastle) pushed referee David Elleray