English Football Association sanctions 10-game ban on Liverpool's Luis Suarez, the team's leading scorer, and the suspension begins immediately.
Liverpool's Luis Suarez banned for 10 games for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic
The sanction was imposed Wednesday afternoon by an independent regulatory commission on a charge of violent conduct against Liverpool's leading scorer.
An FA statement said: "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."
Suarez has until midday Friday to appeal the additional suspension.
In a statement, Liverpool's 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 before making any further comment."
The 10-game ban is harsher than the eight-match suspension handed to Suarez in December 2011 for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra during an FA Cup match, and significantly more than the four-game suspension given to the Chelsea captain John Terry last year for racially abusing Queens Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League game in October 2011.
The QPR midfielder Joey Barton was given a 12-game ban last season for a red card and violent conduct towards three Manchester City players after being sent off in the final league game of 2011/12.
In 2006, the FA banned Manchester City's Ben Thatcher for eight matches for an elbow incident that left Portsmouth's Pedro Mendes unconscious.
A 10-match ban will see Suarez miss Liverpool's remaining four games of this season and the first six domestic matches of the next campaign, potentially ruling him out until October.
Suarez had pleaded guilty to the charge of violent conduct but had denied the FA's claim that the standard punishment of three matches was "clearly insufficient" for the offence.
The three-person regulatory commission included a former player and dealt with the case under the FA's fast-track system.
It also appears that Suarez's past has counted against him. The 26-year-old Uruguayan was banned for seven matches in Holland in 2010 when he sank his teeth into the PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal, and although that incident did not form any part of the FA's case, as it was in a different country, the commission had the discretion to take his personal disciplinary history into consideration.
The same approach was also taken in relation to deciding whether his eight-match racism ban should have any impact on the sanction for this case.
There is no standard minimum or maximum punishment for biting in football's disciplinary code, unlike rugby union which has a 12-week recommended suspension for first offences, up to a four-year ban for the most serious biting offences.
Suarez had apologised on Monday to Ivanovic, who suffered a bruised arm from the bite, and the Chelsea defender acknowledged the apology.
Suarez remains eligible for the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year award, which will be announced on Sunday.
Timeline of Luis Suarez' checkered past
Feb 2007 Makes his international debut for Uruguay against Colombia but is sent off in the final few minutes after being shown a second yellow card for dissent.
Nov 2007 Joins Ajax from Uruguayan side Nacional but is later suspended by the Dutch giants after a half-time dressing-room altercation with teammate Albert Luque.
July 2010 During the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals, Suarez prevents Ghana’s Dominic Adiyiah from scoring in the final minute with a deliberate handball on the line and is subsequently sent off. A penalty was awarded but missed by Asamoah Gyan and footage showed Suarez celebrating on the sidelines. Uruguay eventually went through to the last four on penalties.
Nov 2010 Handed a seven-match ban by the Dutch FA and fined by his club for biting PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal during an Eredivisie match.
Oct 2011 Alleged to have racially abused Manchester United’s Patrice Evra during a Premier League match. Later found guilty by an independent regulatory commission and banned for eight matches and fined £40,000 (Dh224,500).
Feb 2012 United and Liverpool met again at Old Trafford, but more controversy blows up as Suarez refuses to shake Evra’s hand before kick off.
April 2013 Bites Branislav Ivanovic on the arm but escapes punishment on the pitch as the referee fails to see it, and scores Liverpool’s equaliser seven minutes into stoppage time as they draw 2-2 with Chelsea at Anfield. Fined by club the following day and charged with violent conduct by the FA. Subsequently handed a 10-match ban by an independent regulatory commission.
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