• Premier League

Cameron: Suarez sets 'appalling example'

ESPN staff
April 26, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Brendan Rodgers believes that Suarez's ten-match ban is "against the man rather than the incident"

Prime Minister David Cameron has defended his criticism of Luis Suarez by stating that the striker sets "the most appalling example" to children.

Suarez, 26, was banned for 10 matches on Wednesday for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during a 2-2 Premier League draw at Anfield last weekend.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes the striker has been victimised by the FA, and criticised Cameron for joining the debate earlier this week.

The Prime Minister suggested that a longer ban for Suarez would be "very understandable" because of his high profile.

Asked to explain those comments on Friday morning, Cameron told Radio Five Live: "I made my own views clear just as a dad watching the game.

"I've got a seven-year-old son who just loves watching football and when players behave like this it just sets the most appalling example to young people in our country."

Cameron insisted that the length of the ban was entirely a matter for the FA, but criticised those who have attempted to defend Suarez.

Asked if he thought a 10-match ban was appropriate, the Prime Minister said: "That's up to the FA, it's not my decision.

"The FA make the decision, they're entirely independent and that is the way it should work.

"I'm going to leave it entirely to the FA. But if you're asking me as a dad and as a human being: Do I think we should have tough penalties when players behave like this? Yes I think we should.

"There are people, I've read in some newspapers, who think somehow this isn't serious. I think it is serious, when we're trying to bring up our children properly, they do see football players as role models.

"Bringing up children is one of the toughest things we do. But you can't wrap them in cotton wool and hide them away from the world. They do see these real-life examples and they repeat them back to you."

Following the incident, which happened during the second half of last Sunday's match against Chelsea, Suarez apologised, was fined by his club and accepted an FA charge of violent conduct, but argued that a standard three-game ban would be enough.

The FA, though, in a statement released before the length of the ban was confirmed, said that three matches would be "clearly insufficient" in Suarez's case.

Rodgers argued in a press conference on Thursday that the Football Association had victimised Suarez, stating that they had "punished the man, not the incident".

He also questioned the impartiality of the independent commission, who ultimately decided on the length of the punishment.

And Rodgers criticised Cameron, who joined the Suarez debate earlier this week.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman told reporters on Monday: "It is rightly a matter for the football authorities to consider.

"I think it would be very understandable if they took into account the fact that high-profile players are often role models."

Rodgers suggested on Thursday that Cameron's initial intervention had counted against Suarez.

"I didn't think this incident warranted that," the Liverpool manager said. "There's no doubt if you have those high profile figures making those sorts of statements there will be a bias."

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