FIFA is expected to make a swift decision on Luis Suarez’s future in the World Cup and the Uruguay striker may play no further part in the tournament after appearing to have bitten Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini.
The incident was missed by the match referee in last night's
The 27-year-old left teeth-marks on Chiellini’s shoulder after clashing with him at the end of Uruguay’s 1-0 win in Natal – where FIFA president Sepp Blatter was in attendance – that saw the South Americans qualify for the last 16.
A FIFA spokesperson said: “We are awaiting the official match reports and will gather all the necessary elements in order to evaluate the matter.”
Meanwhile, senior FIFA official Michel D’Hooghe told BBC Radio 5 Live that the “serious” case should be brought to a hearing in front of its disciplinary commission and that “biting is not compatible with normal football practice.”
FIFA’s disciplinary code sets a maximum ban of 24 matches or two years, but the longest ban in World Cup history was eight games for Italy’s Mauro Tassotti for breaking Spain’s Luis Enrique’s nose in 1994 with an elbow. Zinedine Zidane was given a three-match ban for headbutting Marco Materazzi in the 2006 final.
Suarez moved to defend himself on Uruguay television after the flashpoint.
He said: “These situations happen on the pitch, we were both just inside the area, he struck me in the chest with his shoulder and he hit me in the eye as well.
“These are things that happen on the pitch and you shouldn’t attach so much importance to them.
“I’m very happy to have qualified. We are taking each game as it comes, we know that we’re in a difficult situation, we’re at our limits now.”
Suarez has twice been banned for biting opponents – for 10 matches in 2013 for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic and in 2010 he was given a seven-game ban while playing for Ajax for biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal.
Writing #Suarez off as an evil or nasty person is misguided - he isn't. He plays on pure emotion, it makes him player he is.— Si Steers (@sisteers) June 24, 2014
FIFA’s disciplinary code allows action to be taken retrospectively via video evidence even if the incident has been seen by the referee.
Chiellini told Italian television station Rai TV: “It was ridiculous not to send Suarez off. It is clear, clear-cut.
“Then there was the obvious dive afterwards because he knew very well that he did something that he shouldn’t have done.”
Jim Boyce, Britain’s FIFA vice-president and head of FIFA’s referees committee, expressed concerns about Suarez’s actions.
He said: “I have watched the incident several times on television. There is no doubt Luis Suarez is a fantastic footballer but, once again, his actions have left him open to severe criticism.
“FIFA must investigate the incident seriously and take whatever disciplinary action deemed necessary.”
After his two goals beat England on Tuesday, Suarez made reference to the criticism he had faced over his bans for biting Ivanovic and racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra.
He said then: “Before the game too many people in England laughed about my attitude over the last few years. This is a very good time for me. I want to see what they think now.”
February 2007: Makes his international debut for Uruguay against Colombia but is sent off in the final minutes after being shown a second yellow card for dissent.
November 2007: Joins Ajax from Uruguayan side Nacional but he is later suspended by the Dutch giants after a half-time dressing-room altercation with team-mate Albert Luque.
July 2010: During the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals, Suarez prevents Ghana’s Dominic Adiyiah from scoring in the final minute with a deliberate handball on the line and is subsequently sent off. A penalty was awarded but missed by Asamoah Gyan and footage showed Suarez celebrating on the sidelines. Uruguay eventually went through to the last four on penalties.
November 2010: Handed a seven-match ban by the Dutch FA and fined by his club for biting PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal during an Eredivisie match.
October 2011: Following his move to Liverpool in January 2011, he was involved in a tackle with Everton’s Jack Rodwell and went down with apparent minimal contact. Rodwell was then sent off.
October 2011: Alleged to have racially abused Manchester United’s Patrice Evra during a Premier League match. Later found guilty by an independent regulatory commission, banned for eight matches and fined £40,000.
December 2011: Seen making an offensive gesture towards Fulham fans. At this time he had already been charged by the FA over the racism incident, although not yet punished, but was handed a further one-match ban for the gesture.
February 2012: United and Liverpool met again at Old Trafford, but more controversy blew up as Suarez refuses to shake Evra’s hand before kick-off.
October 2012: Celebrates a goal against Everton by diving in front of Toffees boss David Moyes, who had earlier claimed that ”divers” such as Suarez were putting fans off the English game.
January 2013: Handles the ball prior to scoring Liverpool’s winner in the FA Cup third-round tie at Mansfield.
April 2013: Bites Branislav Ivanovic on the arm but escapes punishment on the pitch as the referee fails to see it, and scores Liverpool’s equaliser seven minutes into stoppage time as they draw 2-2 with Chelsea at Anfield. Fined by club the following day and charged with violent conduct by the FA. Subsequently handed a 10-match ban by an independent regulatory commission, which Liverpool opt not to appeal against.
June 2014: Television replays show Suarez moving his head towards Chiellini, who responded by swinging an arm before chasing the referee to apparently insist he had been bitten on his shoulder.