RIO DE JANEIRO: The four -month global ban imposed on Luis Suarez for his World Cup bite is too harsh, the victim Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini said yesterday as the Uruguay striker returned home to a hero’s welcome.
Hundreds of fans were waiting at Montevideo airport for Suarez who arrived in a private jet after being ordered by FIFA to leave Uruguay’s team hotel in Brazil.
Chiellini, who became Suarez’s third biting victim in his side’s 1-0 defeat to Uruguay, said he felt for the temperamental striker and his family.
“I have always considered unequivocal the disciplinary interventions by the competent bodies, but at the same time I believe that the proposed formula is excessive,” said Chiellini on his website.
Aside from the four-month ban from all football activity, FIFA also imposed a nine game international suspension and a 100,000 Swiss Franc ($112,000) fine. The sanctions booted Suarez out of the World Cup.
“There only remains the anger and the disappointment about the match,” Chiellini said. “At the moment, my only thought is for Luis and his family, because they will face a very difficult period.
“I sincerely hope he will be allowed to stay close to his teammates during the games, because such a ban is really alienating for a player.”
Suarez, 27, bid farewell to his team-mates on Thursday as they prepared for today’s last 16 game with Colombia. FIFA said the ban on football activities meant he could not stay at the hotel. Suarez will not even be allowed in a stadium where Uruguay are playing during the four months.
The Uruguayan nation has rallied behind the shamed goalscorer however.
The private jet landed in Montevideo just before dawn. Hundreds of fans carrying banners with slogans such as “Luis, All Of Uruguay Is With You” were waiting.
“He has been treated worse than a murderer, when it was just a mistake,” one of the fans at the airport said.
RIO DE JANEIRO: FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke yesterday said Luis Suarez should seek professional help to stop him from repeatedly biting opponents.
“I think he should find a way to stop doing it. He should go through a treatment. It is definitely wrong,” he said yesterday.
Valcke dismissed Chiellini’s comments that the punishment was too harsh.
“You will always find someone who says it’s excessive,” Valcke said. “It’s not only him who says it’s excessive.”
When pointed out that Chiellini was the victim, Valcke replied: “So what?
“They are decisions which are made by the disciplinary committee based on what they have seen,” the FIFA general secretary said.