• Premier League

PM calls for strong stance on Suarez

ESPN staff
April 23, 2013

Prime Minister David Cameron has weighed into the debate over Luis Suarez's bite on Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, suggesting that an example must be made of the Liverpool forward when handing down his punishment.

Suarez has been charged by the Football Association and fined by his club over the incident, which could see him miss at least the remainder of the season.

The Uruguay international is no stranger to controversy, having been involved in a similar incident while playing for Ajax in 2010. That was to be his final appearance for the Dutch giants, but Liverpool insist that he will not be sold following this latest infringement.

A spokesman for Cameron, meanwhile, believes that the status footballers have as "role models" for impressionable youths should be taken into consideration by the FA when a decision is made on any potential suspension.

"It is rightly a matter for the football authorities to consider," said Cameron's spokesman. "As part of their consideration, I think it would be very understandable if they took into account the fact that high-profile players are often role models."

The Prime Minister's call for an increased punishment may be heeded, with the FA on Monday confirming referee Kevin Friend missed the incident on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the player embroiled in Suarez's first instance of biting, Otman Bakkal, says he was lost for words when he saw his former rival repeating the behaviour which saw him depart the Netherlands in acrimonious circumstances.

"I saw it and it was unbelievable," Bakkal is quoted as saying in The Sun. "It's something you can never imagine happening on a pitch.

"It happened once already. At first I thought maybe it was an accident but, apparently, he loses it sometimes. I don't know what to say. I thought he meant it when he said sorry. I think he wants to win so badly that he loses his mind sometimes but afterwards he comes to his senses.

"I am a footballer as well and this affects all of us, but for me it's more important to leave all this behind me. It doesn't belong on the pitch.

"It was the end of him in Holland. Now we just have to wait and see what the FA does - and then what his future will be in England.''

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