Did not in­tend to bite: Suarez

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE -

Rio de Janeiro: Luis Suarez told FIFA’s dis­ci­plinary panel that he did not de­lib­er­ately bite Italy de­fender Gior­gio Chiellini at the World Cup.

The Uruguay striker’s de­fense that he lost bal­ance and fell on his op­po­nent will now be pre­sented to FIFA’s ap­peal panel, af­ter his na­tional fed­er­a­tion no­ti­fied FIFA late on Fri­day it would chal­lenge the nine- match, four- month ban.

“In no way it hap­pened how you have de­scribed, as a bite or in­tent to bite,” Suarez wrote in Span­ish in a let­ter dated June 25. The player’s de­fense is in para­graph 6 of FIFA’s dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee rul­ing. “Af­ter the im­pact... I lost my bal­ance, mak­ing my body un­sta­ble and fall­ing on top of my op­po­nent,” Suarez wrote in his sub­mis­sion.

“At that mo­ment I hit my face against the player leav- ing a small bruise on my cheek and a strong pain in my teeth,” Suarez said.

How­ever, the seven- man panel which met on Wed­nes­day evening dis­missed the ar­gu­ment. The bite was “de­lib­er­ate, in­ten­tional and with­out provo­ca­tion,” the rul­ing stated in para­graph No. 26 of the panel’s con­clu­sions.

The panel, chaired by for­mer Switzer­land in­ter­na­tional Clau­dio Sulser, also in­cluded mem­bers from the Cook Is­lands, Hong Kong, Pak­istan, Panama, South Africa and Sin­ga­pore.

On Satur­day, FIFA con­firmed that for­mal pro­ceed­ings had be­gun to chal­lenge the long­est ban for a World Cup player in 20 years.

“We have a dec­la­ra­tion that they are plan­ning to ap­peal,” FIFA spokes­woman Delia Fischer said.

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