London – Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has been fined and will donate the money to the Hillsborough Family Support Group following the Uruguayan’s shocking bite on Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.
Suarez sunk his teeth into Ivanovic’s right arm during yesterday’s 2-2 draw at Anfield in the Premier League.
The ugly incident has sparked widespread condemnation of Suarez and both the player and Liverpool were forced to apologise, while Reds manager Brendan Rodgers claimed his star forward’s actions were unacceptable.
Suarez is likely to face a lengthy ban from the Football Association for his actions, but Liverpool have already punished the 26-year-old with a fine, which the player will give to the families of the 96 Liverpool fans who died in a terrace crush before an FA Cup semifinal at Hillsborough in 1989.
Last Monday’s 24th anniversary of the tragedy was marked by a memorial service at Anfield, which Suarez and his team-mates attended.
“For my unacceptable behaviour, yesterday, the club has fined me today,” Suarez wrote on Twitter today.
“I have asked the club to donate the money to the Hillsborough Family Support Group for the inconvenience I have created to the Liverpool fans and to Ivanovic.”
Suarez has a long list of previous misdemeanours even before joining Liverpool from Ajax in January 2011 and it is not the first time he has been in trouble for biting.
But, responding to calls for Suarez to be sold by Liverpool, Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor revealed the players’ union would offer anger management counselling to deal with his temper.
“There is no doubting his football ability, that’s why it is so disappointing and embarrassing when he lets himself down,” Taylor said.
“We have to work hard on anger management now. We have trained counsellors in this field and we will be offering their services to Liverpool and the player to try to improve matters.”
In November 2010, Suarez was banned for seven matches and dubbed the ‘Cannibal of Ajax’ after biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal.
In December 2011, he was banned for eight matches and fined £40 000 (R566 000) after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.
Then, just a few weeks later, he received a one-match ban for making an offensive gesture to Fulham fans and, in February 2012, he refused to shake hands with Evra when Liverpool faced United at Old Trafford.
Despite the growing list of controversies involving Suarez, Liverpool legend John Barnes insists the Reds must resist demands to sell him.
As referee Kevin Friend missed the incident, Suarez is likely to be punished with a retrospective Football Association suspension, but some pundits, including former Liverpool captain Graeme Souness, believe it could be time for the club to cut ties with Suarez as he is damaging their reputation.
Suarez’s latest controversy has forced Liverpool’s managing director Ian Ayre to cancel a trip to Australia and the Far East to deal with the fallout.
But Barnes, who helped Liverpool win the English title in 1988 and 1990, is convinced Rodgers and Liverpool owner John Henry should stand by Suarez.
“He has to suffer the consequences of his actions. That’s all he has to do,” Barnes told BBC Radio Five Live.
“I’ve heard talk about him not playing for Liverpool again, which I think is ridiculous. I’ve heard talk about him bringing the good name of Liverpool down, which is also ridiculous – he’s brought his own good name down.
“If you’re saying, because of what he’s done, he should never play for Liverpool again, who should he play for?”
Suarez is also one of the candidates for the PFA Player of the Year award, and Taylor confirmed that the latest scandal would not affect his position on the short list.
“It’s decided on votes and it is a football matter, but of course it is embarrassing that it should happen,” Taylor added.