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Uruguay claim Suarez conspiracy

ESPN Staff and Mike Whalley
June 25, 2014 « Djokovic survives scare as Stepanek wows Wimbledon | World champion Selby shocked at Wuxi Classic »
Suarez hands Liverpool a problem

The lawyer of Luis Suarez claims his client is the victim of campaign to force FIFA come down hard on the striker for his alleged bite on Giorgio Chiellini.

Suarez, 27, appeared to bite the defender during Uruguay's 1-0 World Cup Group D victory over Italy in Natal on Tuesday and has received widespread criticism for his actions.

FIFA has since announced it is investigating the incident and asked for evidence, which can include video recordings, which were due to be presented on Wednesday. A decision must be reached before Saturday, when Uruguay play Colombia in a round-of-16 match at the Maracana.

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It is expected that the Liverpool striker, who has twice been banned for biting an opponent before, will at least be suspended for the rest of the competition, while he faces a maximum 24-game or two-year ban if found guilty.

Lawyer Alejandro Balbi, however, believes that Suarez did little wrong, adding that such incidents should be left on the field and forgotten about after the game.

Balbi, who is also a member of the Uruguayan Football Association board, is quoted as saying by Reuters: "We don't have any doubts that this has happened because it's Suarez and secondly because Italy was eliminated. There's a lot of pressure from England and Italy. We're polishing off a defence argument.

"There is a possibility that they ban him, because there are precedents, but we're convinced that it was an absolutely casual play, because if Chiellini can show a scratch on one shoulder, Suarez can show a bruised and almost shut eye.

"If every player starts showing the injuries he suffers and they open inquiries for them everything will be way too complicated in the future. We're going to use all the arguments possible so that Luis gets out in the best possible way."

FIFA head of media Delia Fischer said earlier in the day that the disciplinary committee's investigation into Suarez was "still at the early stages'' and that the governing body could not give guidelines to the independent panel on any sanctions.

She told a news conference in Rio de Janeiro: "We are still at early stages and the player has a right to be heard. We cannot speak about what could potentially happen, this is in the hands of the disciplinary committee.

"The disciplinary committee under the chairmanship of Claudio Sulser is independent and it is up to them to apply the disciplinary code. Only then are they in a position to refer to the relevant articles of the code.

"We have seen a lot of rumours so let the disciplinary committee do their duty and wait until they have done that. The body deciding the sanction decides the scope and duration of it. We will communicate as soon as we have an update.''

Meanwhile, Suarez faces the prospect of losing a sponsorship deal with betting company 888 following the accusations of the bite.

The Liverpool striker has released a number of online video diaries detailing his experiences in the World Cup since the company began sponsoring him in May.

But with FIFA preparing an investigation into Suarez and the possibility of a long ban if he is found guilty, 888 is considering its position.

Fellow sponsor Adidas is also reviewing its deal with Suarez, telling ESPN FC reporter Darren Rovell: "Adidas is aware of the issue involving Luis Suarez. We await FIFA's full investigation into this matter and will respond accordingly."

Liverpool are likely to wait for FIFA's investigation to take its course before deciding how to proceed themselves. Earlier on Wednesday, Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor stated that the latest biting incident has given Liverpool a "big problem."

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