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Suarez facing big ban for biting opponent

By Gary Morley, CNN
April 22, 2013 -- Updated 1726 GMT (0126 HKT)
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez (R) clashes with Branislav Ivanovic after appearing to bite the Chelsea player in the second half of Sunday's 2-2 draw. Liverpool striker Luis Suarez (R) clashes with Branislav Ivanovic after appearing to bite the Chelsea player in the second half of Sunday's 2-2 draw.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Luis Suarez fined by his club Liverpool after biting a Chelsea opponent on Sunday
  • The striker has also been charged with violent conduct by the Football Association
  • British Prime Minister says FA must take into account that player is a role model
  • Suarez asked for his fine to be donated to the Hillsborough tragedy families charity

(CNN) -- Controversial soccer star Luis Suarez will not be sacked by Liverpool despite his latest biting incident, but he faces a lengthy suspension.

The Premier League club said Monday it had fined the Uruguay international for his assault on Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, and the English Football Association later announced the 26-year-old has been charged with violent conduct.

"It is the FA's contention that the standard punishment of three matches that would otherwise apply is clearly insufficient in these circumstances," the ruling body said.

Suarez, who was banned seven matches for biting an opponent during a Dutch league game shortly before joining Liverpool in January 2011, wrestled with Ivanovic before sinking his teeth into the Serbian's arm during Sunday's 2-2 draw at Anfield.

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Suarez has until Tuesday to respond to the charge -- if he doesn't then the hearing will take place Wednesday.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said any punishment for Suarez needs to take into account his high profile and responsibility as a role model.

"It is rightly a matter for the football authorities to consider," a spokesman said. "As part of their consideration, I think it would be very understandable if they took into account the fact that high-profile players are often role models."

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Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre said team manager Brendan Rodgers will be working with Suarez -- the EPL's top scorer this season with 23 goals -- to improve his discipline.

"You can see when you speak to him how sorry he is about it and he's certainly shown quite a lot of contrition to us -- and as part of that, he's also asked we donate the fine to the Hillsborough Family Support Group," Ayre said on the club's website..

Suarez was criticized by former Liverpool captain and manager Graeme Souness for bringing shame on the club the week after the 24th anniversary of the Hillsborough stadium tragedy, in which 96 people were killed.

Read: Suarez apologizes for biting Ivanovic

The Hillsborough Families Support Group -- set up to help the victims of the crush that happened during the 1989 FA Cup match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest -- has accepted the donation, but said it was unhappy about the circumstances.

"I would rather not be accepting the fine from Luis Suarez because I would rather he had not bitten that player," its chair Margaret Aspinall told the UK Press Association.

"It is an awful thing at any time -- not just this particular week. We could refuse to accept it but it is going to have to go to someone, and he wants to show respect and remorse to the families."

Liverpool police said they would not be taking any further action after talking to Ivanovic, who refused to press charges.

Ayre rejected any suggestion that Liverpool would seek to sell Suarez, who was banned for eight matches for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra in October 2011 and was reprimanded by Rodgers after admitting that he dived during matches -- known as "simulation" -- to win free kicks and penalties.

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"It affects his future in the sense that we have to work with him on his discipline -- but Luis is a very important player to the club," Ayre said.

"He's a very popular player with his teammates. He signed a new four-year contract last summer and we'd all love to see him here throughout that contract. He's a fantastic player, top scorer and everything we'd want in a striker, so there's no change there.

"This is more about getting him back on the right track and it's largely down to Brendan now to work with him on that side of his character."

Suarez has been warned by his boot sponsor Adidas that he must behave better.

"Adidas takes this type of incident very seriously and does not condone Luis Suarez's behavior," it said in a statement Monday.

"We will be reminding him of the standards we expect from our players."

The head of English Professional Footballers' Association said that Suarez needs help controlling his temper.

"We have to work hard on anger management now. We have trained counselors in this field and we will be offering their services to Liverpool and the player to try to improve matters," PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor said.

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Suarez is one of six nominees for the PFA player of the year award -- voted for by his peers -- which will be announced on Sunday.

"His reputation for controversy continues to increase when he can be such a good player, one of the world's best, so it is a real dilemma now," Taylor told Sky Sports.

Liverpool's American owners were widely criticized for not taking stronger action after the Suarez-Evra incident, and for allowing former team manager Kenny Dalglish to publicly defend his player while the FA was still investigating and after the verdict was announced.

Ayre said he had been in contact with the Fenway Sports Group, which also owns baseball's Boston Red Sox, about the best way to handle this situation.

"With any incident like this, any major incident at the club, we're in direct dialogue with the owners, always. I spoke to them last night and they were happy with the way we were handling the matter," he said Monday.

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