Over and out

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has been banned for 10 games by the Football Association for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.

Uruguay international Suarez had accepted the FA charge of violent conduct but claimed his ban should be three games, the standard punishment for violent conduct.

His plea fell on deaf ears, with the FA deciding to make an example of a player who has consistently tested the bounds of acceptable behaviour on the football pitch.

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 offence.

“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.”

LFC managing director Ian Ayre said: “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.”

Well, chief among the reasons is that he bit someone. What further explanation do you require?

With friends like this…

Before the verdict Suarez had received support from Uruguay football federation president Sebastian Bauza, who pleaded mitigation for the striker.

“Luis showed me that he’s sorry for what he did,” Bauza told the Sun. “He recognises he made a mistake, told me he wants to change and that he is open to receive help.

“There’s no doubt Luis made a mistake. But we should help him learn to respect the codes that football has.”

Just for the record, Suarez has made 327 first team appearances and collected 62 caps for Uruguay. If he hasn’t learn yet that biting an opponent is not part of football’s code, then it’s unlikely he ever will.

“And I firmly believe punishments are not enough,” Bauza added. “The whole of football has to help him as he brings a lot to sport, being one of the best players in the world.

“The only thing punishments do is deprive us from seeing him on the pitch.”

To be honest, we’ll cope.

Bauza plea is all far cry from a fortnight ago when he spoke passionately in defence of the ‘persecuted’ Suarez, after the forward had been filmed punching Chile’s Gonzalo Jara in the jaw during a World Cup qualifying match.

“Suarez is being persecuted by different football leagues, mainly the English, and we think this is unjust because it’s a normal action in football,” Bauza was quoted as saying on South American governing body CONMEBOL’s website.

If Bauza is ever made redundant, there will be a job waiting for him in Liverpool’s PR department.

Could have been worse…

Still, lengthy though Suarez’s punishment was, at least he will be able to resume his career once he has served his time. Unlike Indonesia’s Pieter Rumaropen, who punched a referee in the face during a Super League match last weekend, and has been banned for life by the country’s football association (PSSI) on Wednesday.

The PSSI disciplinary committee arrived at the decision after watching video footage of the incident and going through the match referee’s report, said a statement on the Super League website (www.ligaindonesia.co.id).

Persiwa Wamena striker Rumaropen cracked when referee Muhaimin awarded opponents Pelita Bandung Raya a penalty with eight minutes left in the match level at 1-1.

Rumaropen, who was later shown a red card, ran up behind Muhaimin and connected with a swinging left hook on the referee.

The referee had to be admitted to a hospital due to excessive bleeding and needed four stitches, according to the statement.

Goal of the day

A sweeping move from one end of the pitch to the other, culminates in Franck Ribery feeding David Alaba, who crosses for Thomas Muller to slide in from close range to make the scoreline an improbable Bayern Munich 4-0 Barcelona.

Quote of the day

“I know what it is like to have your leg broken by a reckless tackle. Lucas Neill cost me six months of my career in September 2003 when he played for Blackburn. Would I have preferred to have been bitten? Absolutely.”

Luis Suarez team-mate Jamie Carragher admits he would rather be bitten than face a mistimed tackle.

Stories we couldn’t make up

Lecce’s 20-year-old Senegalese striker Ousmane Dramè has been suspended from the club after a scarcely credible tale involving a prostitute, a phone, a transvestite, and a robbery.

According to the report from ANSA, Drame could not afford to pay a prostitue for sex, so offered his iPhone 5 instead. However, he has been charged with stealing a purse from the prostitute and fleeing by bicycle after reneging on a deal to give her his phone. The third-division club, was reportedly chased down by a transsexual friend of the robbed Nigerian streetwalker after the incident early Monday.

Police charged Drame’ with injuring the transsexual when he allegedly tripped him as he tried to grab the purse from his hands.

Bad night at the office?

A shellshocked Barcelona are coming to terms with a humbling 4-0 defeat to Bayern Munich, which all but ended their chances of reaching this season’s Champions League final.

Talismanic striker Lionel Messi, who looked unfit and was a largely peripheral figure on the night was one of several Barcelona players to pay tribute to a dominant Bayern side.

“They were a lot stronger than us, physically superior,” he said. “It is a pity what happened but we have to move on.”

Midfielder Xavi has not given up hope of reaching the Champions League final at Wembley, even though he admits that the chances of Barcelona overturning the deficit are exceedingly remote.

“We are Barca and we have got to try to get to the final,” said the Spaniard. “We need to play a great game but we know at the same time that it is practically impossible.”

“They were quicker than us and it was like a siege,” he said. “We expected it to be like this. They are very strong physically and they were better than us.

“When you make mistakes in the Champions League, you pay the price. They were stronger than us. I do not know why we did not attack well.

“They have extraordinary players like (Arjen) Robben and they just found it too easy to get past us.”

Changing of the guard?

Meanwhile, in Germany, the mood was understandably triumphant, with the press reflecting on a glorious night which hinted at a seismic shift in the balance of power in European football.

Coach Jupp Heynckes, who at 67, is on the brink of taking Bayern to their third Champions League final in the space of four years, says he was not surprised by his team’s performance.

He said: “We’ve been playing extraordinary football all season.

“It was not a really big surprise to me that we scored four goals. We have played to a high level all season.”

“My players were fantastic again. Falling short of success in the past two seasons has only made them more hungry for success this year.

“We defended so well and in possession we have style of play going forward. We have a lot of creativity and a lot of class and quality.

The German press could barely contain their glee at the scale of Bayern’s win.

“Bayern ridicule Barca,” screamed Bild over a photo of two-goal hero Thomas Mueller.

Merkur Muenchener, a Bavarian daily, described Bayern as “unstoppable” after such a “historic victory”.

In Spain, the mood was of dismay at the margin of the defeat and dismay at coach Tito Vilanova’s inability to do anything about it.

“This result has an impact with consequences that will be costly for Barca. It opens many doubts and the first is their manager and his inability yesterday to respond,” wrote Albert Masnou in Sport.

A historic beating,” ran Marca’s front page, adding that “this great Barca showed in Munich their clear signs of decline.”

AS, which also questioned the lack of leadership, said that Barcelona had lost more than just a football match in the Allianz Arena.

“Barca lost 4-0, but with this they lost something more: they lost their incontestable credibility,” it added.

Another one bites the dust

South American football president Nicolas Leoz has resigned from FIFA’s executive committee on “health and personal” grounds.

Leoz was accused by the BBC’s Panorama programme in November 2010 of taking bribes in the 1990s from the now defunct sports rights agency ISL, and his resignation comes in the week that a 4,000-page report by FIFA’s ethics investigator is set to be made public. Coincidence? Who knows.

A file prepared by investigator Michael Garcia was passed to Hans-Joachim Eckert, the world governing body’s ethics judge, several weeks ago. Eckert may also make recommendations for further action to be taken against serving Fifa personnel based upon the report.

In 2011, former Football Association chairman Lord Triesman alleged that Leoz had asked for a knighthood in return for supporting England’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup. There was also a claim that Leoz had asked that the FA Cup be renamed in his honour in return for him agreeing to visit England.

Given how desperate England were to secure votes for their doomed World Cup bid, it’s a surprise that they didn’t agree to both suggestions.

Responding to the resignation, a FIFA statement read:  “In accordance with the FIFA statutes, Conmebol will now have to decide immediately on the replacement of Nicolas Leoz as one of its representatives on the FIFA executive committee for the remaining period of office.”

Leoz is the fifth man who voted in December 2010 on the World Cup hosts to leave with the hint of corruption accompanying his departure.

In all, 12 executive committee members have been accused of some form of corruption since October 2010 with Leoz, Jack Warner (Trinidad & Tobago), Mohamed Bin Hammam (Qatar), Ricardo Teixeira (Brazil), Chuck Blazer (United States), Amos Adamu (Nigeria), Reynald Temarii (Tahiti) and Vernon Manilal Fernando (Sri Lanka) facing the most serious allegations.

Leoz, Warner, Bin Hammam, Teixeira and Blazer have resigned with Bin Hammam banned from football for life. All of them have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.


The Bulgarian Football Union has fined Levski Sofia for their displaying Nazi symbols during a domestic league match last weekend.

The union said  the club will be fined 19,000 euros because its fans displayed banners bearing swastikas during the match against Litex in Lovech on Saturday. Levski won 2-1.

The union’s disciplinary commission called on the relevant authorities to punish the perpetrators “to the fullest extent of the law – a ban on stadium access for at least two years.”

Last September, UEFA fined Levski Sofia 30,000 euros for racist abuse by their fans at a Europe League match against Bosnia’s Sarajevo.