Uruguay will appeal against a record nine-match ban imposed by FIFA on striker Luis Suarez for biting an Italy defender in a World Cup group match, local media reported on Thursday.
“The punishment is too strong for the foul,” FA president Wilmer Valdez told local television, which reported that the appeal will be filed later on Thursday.
“Uruguay does not feel persecuted and Suarez is not a victim,” Valdez added.
The Uruguayan government called the four month worldwide ban “disproportionate.”
“This disproportionate sanction hurts us,” said Sports Ministere Liliam Kechichian in a Twitter statement.
In Uruguay, even fans who agreed Suarez’s action was “stupid” did not agree with the sanction.
“Uruguay is a small country that eliminated two big nations like Italy and England and it’s not for FIFA’s benefit to let Uruguay continue playing,” supporter Juan Jose Monzillo said in Montevideo.
The 27-year-old Suarez was due to travel from Brazil to neighbouring Uruguay with his family, TV station Subrayado reported.
Any appeal by Uruguay must first go to the FIFA appeal committee. If rejected, Suarez and Uruguay could take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.
At CAS, Suarez could first appeal to have the sanctions frozen during the process which would clear him to return early for Liverpool.
In a statement, Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre said the club “will wait until we have seen and had time to review the FIFA Disciplinary Committee report before making any further comment.”
Meanwhile, Adidas stopped short on Thursday of ending its sponsorship deal with Suarez, but the German sportswear firm said it would not use him in any further World Cup marketing.
“Adidas fully supports FIFA’s decision. Adidas certainly does not condone Luis Suarez’s recent behavior and we will again be reminding him of the high standards we expect from our players,” a spokeswoman said in an emailed comment.
“We have no plan to use Suarez for any additional marketing activities during the 2014 FIFA World Cup,” she said, adding that Adidas’ relationship with Suarez was otherwise unchanged.
“We will discuss all aspects of our future partnership directly with Suarez and his team.”
Suarez is one of the top footballers that Adidas sponsors and the company’s campaign for the World Cup prominently features an image of the Uruguay player baring his teeth.
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