Brazilian soccer legend Pele. File photo: Nacho Doce


Rio de Janeiro - Pele believes that Fifa's decision to impose a lengthy ban on Uruguay's Luis Suarez for biting an opponent during a World Cup match is fair, local media quoted the Brazilian legend as saying.

“Fifa's decision was good, it was right, because one has to set an example,” Pele was quoted as saying late on Friday.

“If this example is not there from the start, then this (behaviour) will spread.”

“It think it was fair because it will serve as a point of reference,” the 73-year-old added.

Fifa banned Suarez for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini in the shoulder during a World Cup game on Tuesday.

It was his third offence after similar incidents while playing for Ajax Amsterdam and Liverpool. His fans in Uruguay have criticised the ban for nine national team games and an additional four months overall from football as too harsh.

Argentine star Diego Maradona has also sided with Suarez, saying Fifa's ban was “criminal.” The ban has cost Suarez major sponsors.

German sports gear manufacturer Adidas dropped the player from its World Cup advertising campaign and 888poker terminated its sponsorship of the 27-year-old, who returned home on a private jet from Brazil on Friday.

Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke said Suarez should seek treatment given he was a serial offender. - Sapa-dpa