Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

‘Mexico will not finance US wall,’ foreign minister says

Read more

ACROSS AFRICA

African nations need to prepare for potential return of thousands of jihadists

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

DR Congo former child soldiers awarded $10 mn in damages in landmark ruling

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Website roots out "Rotten Apples"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Putin's press conference, Alabama election, One Planet Summit, Brexit Phase II, Disney & Fox

Read more

#TECH 24

WorldRemit: Helping migrant workers send money back home

Read more

FOCUS

The challenges awaiting the new leader of South Africa's ANC

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Bangladeshi PM calls violence in Myanmar 'unacceptable'

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Was 2017 the worst year for the environment?

Read more

Sports

Uruguay defends Suarez 'bite' as FIFA debates sanctions

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-06-26

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica weighed into the global controversy over footballer Luis Suarez on Wednesday, saying it was unfair to judge him retrospectively for biting an Italian player when other incidents went unreviewed.

“We didn’t choose him to be a philosopher, or a mechanic, or to have good manners – he’s a great player,” said Mujica, echoing the protective attitude towards the brilliant but volatile striker felt around his homeland.

“I didn’t see him bite anyone. But they sure can bash each other with kicks and chops,” he added to reporters.

Suarez, one of the world’s best forwards whose team is in the last 16 at the World Cup, is awaiting FIFA’s judgement on Tuesday’s incident when TV footage showed his mouth on the shoulder of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini.

“We have to resolve it either today or tomorrow,” FIFA disciplinary panel member Martin Hong told reporters Wednesday. “It’s our duty to see justice done.”

The Liverpool player has been punished twice in the past for biting, and also for racism. He earned notoriety at the last World Cup for a handball on the line against Ghana, denying the Africans a certain goal and spot in the semi-finals.

Denial at home

Many Uruguayans believe the global reaction against Suarez is over-the-top and hypocritical.

“In football, I was taught that you obey what the referee says,” Mujica said.

“If we’re going to take decisions in football based on what TV says, then there are loads of penalties and handballs you’d have to give that weren’t given, so bad luck.”

Uruguay captain Diego Lugano, at a news conference in the Brazilian city of Natal after a training session, was equally protective of Suarez and tackled one English journalist head on.

“It’s clear that Uruguay’s triumph doesn’t make you happy, it’s obvious on your face,” said Lugano.

“I understand that the figure of Suarez sells because he’s very charismatic ... I’m calm because I know that Luis will pick himself up and is going to have success in the World Cup. That’s what people fear. They’re right to fear that.”

Suarez is coping well according to the Uruguay football federation president. “Luis is fine. He’s been through 1001 battles,” Wilmar Valdez told the online site Tenfield.com. “We all know who Luis is and that’s why we have to defend him.”

(FRANCE 24 with AP, REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-06-26

  • WORLD CUP 2014

    Uruguay’s Suarez ‘bites’ Italian in World Cup game

    Read more

  • WORLD CUP 2014

    Ghana sends cash-filled plane to pay squad in Brazil

    Read more

  • WORLD CUP 2014

    Uruguay advance in World Cup with bruising 1-0 win over Italy

    Read more

COMMENT(S)