By Mike Collett
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Uruguay forward Luis Suarez, banned from all soccer activity for four months and nine competitive internationals for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup match, has lost his appeal, FIFA said on Thursday.
FIFA’s appeals committee rejected the appeal filed by the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF), although it can still take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), a FIFA spokeswoman said.
The controversial Liverpool striker sank his teeth into Chiellini’s shoulder during Uruguay’s 1-0 win over the Italians on June 24. The win sent Uruguay through to the last 16 where, without the banned Suarez, they lost 2-0 to Colombia.
Suarez initially denied biting Chiellini but apologized nearly a week later.
“The truth is that my colleague Giorgio Chiellini suffered the physical result of a bite in the collision he suffered with me,” Suarez said in a statement on Twitter.
FIFA’s disciplinary committee ruled that he acted intentionally and handed him the longest ban ever imposed on a player at the World Cup, prompting fury in his South American homeland, where he was given a hero’s welcome on his return. FIFA later explained that Suarez was given a heavy punishment partly because he had twice before been banned for biting and because he had shown no remorse.
The English Premier League club have since held talks in London over the possible transfer of Suarez to Barcelona, although no deal has been finalised.
Chiellini himself has described the ban as excessive.
(Additional reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond)