Luis Suarez has already been fined by his club, Liverpool, for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, but now the player must wait to discover what punishment he will be handed by the English Football Association.
While Suarez also scored a dramatic injury-time equalizer after earlier conceding a penalty, his performance in Sunday’s Premier League clash with Chelsea at Anfield was always going to be overshadowed by the bizarre incident in the second half.
During a tussle between the opposition players in the Chelsea penalty area, Suarez could be seen taking a bite out of Ivanovic’s arm. And, while the Serbian defender appealed vehemently to referee Kevin Friend and presented teeth marks as evidence, no action was taken during the game.
The FA, though, has said that it will review the match official’s report before deciding what punishment to take against Suarez.
Liverpool have already taken their own action. Soon after the match, Suarez issued an apology both through the club’s official website and on his Twitter feed, while Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers condemned his player’s actions.
"I am deeply sorry for my inexcusable behavior earlier today during our match against Chelsea,” Suarez said in a statement.
"I have issued an apology and have tried to contact Branislav Ivanović to speak to him personally. I apologize also to my manager, playing colleagues and everyone at Liverpool Football Club for letting them down."
While he refused to comment in his post-match interviews until reviewing a tap of the incident, Rodgers quickly condemned the player’s action.
“Having reviewed the video footage and spoken to Luis, his behavior is unacceptable and I have made him aware of this,” he said.
On Monday morning, Liverpool’s managing director Ian Ayre explained that Suarez had also been punished financially.
“I think the most important thing is that we acted swiftly yesterday,” he explained in an interview on the official club’s website. “Luis issued his apology and then we spoke with him last night and then again this morning. We've taken action to fine Luis for his actions.”
Ayre’s stressing of how quickly the club acted is significant given past incidents. In 2011 Suarez was found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra during a match between the two Premier League rivals. Liverpool, though, refused to condemn Suarez throughout the investigation and the club were heavily criticized for their response.
Suarez received an eight-match ban from the FA for that incident and the attention now turns to the punishment Suarez will be will receive on this occasion.
Incredibly, Suarez has previous for biting an opponent and that might provide a clue to the ban he will receive this time around. In 2010, when he was at Ajax, the forward was handed a seven-match ban by the Dutch Football Association for biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal during an Eredivisie encounter.
With little left for the club to play for, Liverpool may be hoping that Suarez is banned for their remaining four games of this campaign and will then be able to return at the start of next season.
That is, of course, if Suarez remains at Anfield. The event has increased speculation over a summer exit for the Premier League’s top scorer this season but Ayre has denied that Suarez’s future at the club has been impacted.