London - England and Italy are responsible for a witchhunt against Luis Suarez, his lawyer claimed on Wednesday night as Fifa considered disciplinary action for his World Cup “bite”.
In an incredible interpretation of the events that unfolded when Suarez clashed with Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini, Alejandro Balbi told Uruguayan radio: ‘We don’t have any doubts that this has happened because it’s Suarez involved, and secondly because Italy have been eliminated.
There’s a lot of pressure from England and Italy. There is a possibility that they ban him, because there are precedents, but we’re convinced that it was an absolutely casual play, because if Chiellini can show a scratch on one shoulder, Suarez can show a bruised and almost closed eye.”
Balbi, who is a Uruguay board member, added: “If every player starts showing the injuries he suffers and they open inquiries for them, everything will be way too complicated in the future. “You shouldn’t forget that we’re rivals of many and we can be for the hosts (Brazil) in the future. There’s no doubt that Suarez is a stone in the shoe for many.”
As Fifa’s disciplinary chiefs began their investigation into Suarez’s shameful behaviour, it became apparent the Liverpool striker was in danger of losing lucrative sponsorship deals.Suarez is sponsored by adidas and executives from the sportswear manufacturer met in Rio to discuss the latest incident.
The official statements from his sponsors were anodyne, but Sportsmail understands the striker could be jettisoned. An adidas spokesperson said: ‘adidas is aware of the issue involving Luis Suarez.
We await Fifa’s full investigation into this matter and will respond accordingly. Gambling company 888poker have Suarez as a brand ambassador and said: “Following recent allegations made against Luis Suarez, we are reviewing our relationship with him. We will not tolerate unsporting behaviour.”
The investigation was ongoing on Wednesday night, but video evidence appeared to be damning.
The independent disciplinary panel, chaired by Swiss lawyer Claudio Sulser, had a range of sanctions available up to a 24-match ban or a two-year suspension from all football.
A worldwide ban would impact on his career at Liverpool, but there is no precedent for such a sanction.It is unclear whether Suarez’s previous bans - 10 games for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic and seven matches for biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal - would be taken into consideration, but the panel do have that power.
A Fifa spokeswoman said: “They can take in all elements they deem necessary.”
Suarez was not due to appear in person at the disciplinary hearing, but his lawyer and Uruguay FA president Wilmar Valdez will present his defence.There are also reports that they will claim pictures of teeth-marks on Chiellini’s shoulder were digitally altered.