Rio de Janeiro - Fifa President Sepp Blatter praised Uruguay striker Luis Suarez on Wednesday after he apologised for biting an Italian defender during the World Cup.
Suarez was banned for nine competitive internationals and cannot take part in any soccer activities for four months after he sank his teeth into the shoulder of Giorgio Chiellini during Uruguay's 1-0 defeat of the Italians on June 24.
It took the forward nearly a week to confess that he had bitten his opponent, after protesting his innocence when the furore surrounding the incident first broke.
“He said 'I'm sorry' to the soccer family, and that's fair play too,” Blatter told reporters at an event in Rio de Janeiro.
“That shows he's a great player and I hope he can have his soccer career back.”
Barcelona officials were reportedly meeting their Liverpool counterparts in London on Wednesday with a view to possibly buying the disgraced striker, who was in brilliant form last season and was voted the English Premier League's best player.
Fifa came under fierce criticism, particularly in Uruguay, for the severity of the punishment handed down to Suarez.
The organisation cited the fact that Suarez had shown no remorse, and had been banned twice before for biting, when explaining its record penalty.
Uruguay President Jose Mujica lambasted Fifa bosses as “sons of bitches” who meted out “fascist” treatment to Suarez.
Suarez was injured when Uruguay crashed to defeat against Costa Rica in their opening World Cup game, but he returned to face England and scored both goals in a 2-1 win.
The 1-0 win over Italy put Uruguay through to the last 16, where they lost 2-0 to Colombia without the banned Suarez.
Blatter would not be drawn on Mujica's comments.
“The president is totally independent,” he said. “I can't comment on what he said.” - Reuters