Luis Suarez: Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez to quit Fifa posts

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Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said he will resign from two Fifa posts in protest at the “excessive severity” of Luis Suarez’s ban.

Tabarez said Suarez had been made a “scapegoat” following his punishment for a third incident of biting.

The 67-year-old says he will leave his roles on Fifa’s technical study group and strategic committee.

Analysis

Phil McNulty Chief football writer

“Oscar Tabarez played to the gallery in a dramatic 12-minute monologue at The Maracana.

“Tabarez announced he would take no questions and went on, uninterrupted, to outline the injustice he and the whole of Uruguay feels has been inflicted on Luis Suarez.

“The veteran coach claimed the punishment was of ‘excessive severity’ and pointed the finger at the British media for pursuing the story, saying, ‘I don’t know what their nationality was but they all spoke English’.

“Tabarez went on to expound ‘the theory of the scapegoat’ before announcing his resignation from Fifa’s Technical Study Group in protest at the sanctions taken against Suarez.

“He concluded his speech with a call to arms for his players to use the emotions stirred by the Suarez affair to inspire them to victory against Colombia on Saturday.

“Tabarez then rose and left the room to loud applause from admiring Uruguayan journalists – an ovation not joined by those of us in the English media.”

“It isn’t wise to be in an organisation with those who exerted pressure to promote this decision,” he said.

Tabarez, addressing a news conference for more than 10 minutes ahead of Uruguay’s last-16 encounter with Colombia, claimed the ban was “more focused on the opinions of the media”.

He added: “We know the mistakes he’s made, but there’s another side to this person. The severity was excessive.

“Many times you forget that the scapegoat is a person, who has rights.”

Suarez bit Giorgio Chiellini during Uruguay’s 1-0 win over Italy on Tuesday and has been banned from all football-related activity for four months, suspended for Uruguay’s next nine internationals and fined 100,000 Swiss francs (£65,680).

He was also banned for 10 matches for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in April 2013 and seven matches for doing similar to PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal while playing for Ajax in 2010.

Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke called on Suarez to seek help during his suspension.

“He should go for treatment,” Valcke said. “It’s definitely wrong. The first time, it’s an incident. More than once, it is not.

“That is why also the sanction, it has to be exemplary.

“It was seen by hundreds of millions of people. It is not what you want your kids, what you want the little (ones) who are playing football around the world, to see at a World Cup.”

International players’ union FIFPro also called for Suarez to “receive all the support he needs”.

“The focus should be on the rehabilitation and serious treatment of the player. FIFPro believes that treatment must be a part of any sanction,” a statement  read.

FIFPro said Suarez’s prolonged absence from the game “must be addressed as it directly infringes his right to work”.

 

Suarez has received support from World Cup winner Diego Maradona, while Chiellini branded the ban “excessive”.

The Uruguayan is not allowed to train with his club or enter a football stadium yet Spanish side Barcelona remain interested in signing the player from Liverpool.

For their part, Liverpool are seeking legal advice after being denied the services of last season’s leading Premier League scorer until the end of October.

Meanwhile, online gambling firm 888poker says it has terminated its relationship with Suarez with immediate effect.

“Suarez didn’t kill anyone. This is an unjust punishment, the act of an incredible mafia”

Diego Maradona

Suarez, who flew back to the Uruguayan capital Montevideo in the early hours of Friday morning, denied the allegations following his clash with Chiellini, claiming the centre-back had bumped into him.

Writing on his personal website,  the Italian defender said: “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.

“Now inside me there’s no feelings of joy, revenge or anger against Suarez for an incident that happened on the pitch and that’s done.

“At the moment my only thought is for Luis and his family, because they will face a very difficult period.”

Former Argentina captain and coach Maradona declared his support for Suarez on his television show De Zurda on Thursday night.

 “The Fifa sanction is shameful, they have no sensitivity towards the fans, they might as well handcuff him and throw him in Guantanamo,” said Maradona, who was wearing a T-shirt bearing the message, ‘Luis, we are with you’.

“It hurts that they have cut short the career of a lad who is a winner. It’s an excessive suspension, Fifa cannot talk about morals to anyone.

“Suarez didn’t kill anyone. This is an unjust punishment, the act of an incredible mafia.”

Maradona interviewed Uruguay’s president Jose Mujica during the programme, broadcast on Telesur TV.

“We Uruguayans are full of anger,” said Mujica. “We kicked out Italy and England, no doubt they lost a lot of money.”

Mujica claimed Fifa used “a different standard” to judge certain countries. “That’s what hurts and angers us the most,” he added.

Uruguay will play Colombia in the last 16 on Saturday after qualifying from Group D behind Costa Rica.

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