Liverpool striker Luis Suarez hit with 10-game ban by English Football Association
Suarez has until Friday at midday GMT to appeal against punishment
Liverpool "shocked and disappointed" at decision
Luis Suarez has been hit with a 10-game ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.
The Liverpool striker was found guilty by the English Football Association Wednesday following the incident which occurred during his side’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea last Sunday.
An FA statement read: “A three-person Independent Regulatory Commission today upheld the FA’s claim that a suspension of three matches was clearly insufficient and the player will serve a further seven first-team matches in addition to the standard three. The suspension begins with immediate effect.
“The Liverpool forward had accepted a charge of violent conduct but had denied the FA’s claim that the standard three-match sanction was insufficient for the offense.
“The incident was not seen by the match officials and has therefore been retrospectively reviewed.
“Suarez has until midday on Friday, 26 April to appeal the additional suspension, above the standard three matches.”
Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre was unhappy with the severity of the verdict.
He told the club’s official site: “Both the club and player are shocked and disappointed at the severity of today’s Independent Regulatory Commission decision.
“We await the written reasons tomorrow before making any further comment.”
Suarez, 26, had apologized for his actions and was heavily fined by Liverpool.
“I’ve spoken to Ivanovic on the phone so I could apologize directly to him,” he tweeted. “Thanks for accepting.”
He added: “For my unacceptable behavior the club has fined me.
“I have asked the club to donate the money to the Hillsborough Family Support Group for the inconvenience I have created to the Liverpool fans and to Ivanovic.”
It would appear that Suarez’s past record has been taken into account by the FA.
The Uruguay striker was given an eight-match ban and a $63,000 fine back in 2011 after being found guilty by the FA of racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra.
Suarez also courted controversy in Holland while at Ajax where he was banned for seven games after biting PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal’s shoulder during a match in November 2010.
The Uruguay star, who has scored 23 goals in the English Premier League, has even drawn criticism from British Prime Minister David Cameron.
“It is rightly a matter for the football authorities to consider,” a Downing Street 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.”
Suarez’s ban is by no means the most severe handed out by the FA.
In 1998, current Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio was banned for 11 games after pushing a referee while playing for Sheffield Wednesday.
In 2003, Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand was suspended for eight months after missing a drugs test.
Another Manchester United star, Eric Cantona, was banned for nine months after launching a kung-fu style kick at a supporter during a game at Crystal Palace in 1995.
Former Australia goalkeeper Mark Bosnich was also punished with a nine-month suspension after testing positive for cocaine in 2003.