Liverpool striker Luis Suarez accepted a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in a game, England’s Football Association said on its website.
Suarez received the suspension two days ago after biting Ivanovic on the arm during a 2-2 draw between the teams last weekend at Anfield. An independent regulatory commission upheld the F.A.’s claim that the normal three-game suspension was insufficient and a further seven were added, with Suarez having until today to file an appeal of the extra matches.
“Liverpool forward Luis Suarez has not appealed the suspension issued to him by an independent regulatory commission this week,” English soccer’s ruling body said. “The suspension begins with immediate effect and applies to Liverpool F.C.’s next 10 domestic first-team fixtures.”
Suarez, who will miss the final four games of this Premier League season and Liverpool’s first six games in league or cup play next season, said today he was sorry for the incident and also repeated an earlier apology to Ivanovic.
“I acknowledge that my actions were not acceptable on the football pitch so I do not want to give the wrong impression to people by making an appeal,” he said in a statement posted on his Twitter account.
Liverpool, which fined Suarez an undisclosed amount over the incident, said it supported the player’s decision today. Manager Brendan Rodgers yesterday questioned the panel’s decision, saying it was prejudiced and bowed to the F.A.’s original ruling.
“We are all disappointed at the severity of the punishment and in particular the differing standards that have been applied across various previous incidents,” Liverpool Managing Director Ian Ayre said in today’s statement on the club’s website. “Luis is an important member of our team and nothing has changed in that regard. We are committed to helping him improve his conduct and he will be given our full support.”
Suarez, the Premier League’s second-leading scorer with 23 goals, was suspended seven games for biting an opponent while playing in the Netherlands and the controversy has cast doubt on the 26-year-old’s future in English soccer.
Suarez has been Liverpool’s standout player since joining from Amsterdam club Ajax in January 2011, though he’s faced criticism and punishment for his actions on the field. He served an eight-game suspension last season after being found to have racially abused Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.
“I really want to learn from what has happened in the last 2 1/2 years, many things have been said and written about me,” he said. “I just tried to do my best on the field. I hope to come back early to play.”