Uruguay’s Luis Suárez has apologized for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini during a June 24 World Cup match.
Suárez initially denied that he’d bitten Chiellini on purpose, claiming that he had merely lost his balance and collided with the Italian’s shoulder. However, the Uruguay star took to Twitter on Monday to issue an official apology.
My apologies to Chiellini: pic.twitter.com/CvfkkjxzlM
— Luis Suarez (@luis16suarez) June 30, 2014
“After several days of being home with my family, I have had the opportunity to regain my calm and reflect about the reality of what occurred during the Italy-Uruguay match on 24 June 2014,” Suárez wrote. “Independent of the fallout and the contradicting declarations that have surfaced during these past days, all of which have been without the intention of interfering with the good performance of my national team, the truth is that my colleague Giorgio Chiellini suffered the physical result of a bite in the collision he suffered with me.”
“For this: I deeply regret what occurred. I apologize to Giorgio Chiellini and the entire football family. I vow to the public that there will never again be another incident like,” Suárez added.
Within an hour, Chiellini had accepted Suárez’s apology. “It’s all forgotten. I hope FIFA will reduce your suspension,” he wrote.
On June 26, FIFA’s disciplinary committee announced that Suárez would be banned from all soccer-related activity for four months and suspended for nine official matches. In addition, he will be forced to pay a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs. Without Suárez, Uruguay lost its Round of 16 match against Colombia, 2-0.
“Such behaviour cannot be tolerated on any football pitch, and in particular not at a FIFA World Cup when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field,” Claudio Sulser, chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, said on Thursday. “The Disciplinary Committee took into account all the factors of the case and the degree of Mr. Suárez’s guilt in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Code. The decision comes into force as soon it is communicated.”
Chiellini has already stated that he found FIFA’s punishment to be “excessive.”
“At the moment my only thought is for Luis and his family, because they will face a very difficult period. 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,” he said on his official website.