• Premier League

Liverpool challenge 'increased Suarez ban'

ESPN staff
April 25, 2013
Rodgers blastst FA

Luis Suarez received a 10-game suspension for biting Branislav Ivanovic because Liverpool challenged the football authorities over the length of the ban, former Football Association compliance officer Graham Bean has said.

Liverpool have until noon on Friday to decide whether to appeal against the punishment imposed on the striker by an independent commission on Wednesday.

Suarez apologised and was fined by his club after biting Chelsea defender Ivanovic during Sunday's 2-2 Premier League draw at Anfield.

The Uruguayan accepted an FA charge of violent conduct, but both he and Liverpool argued that a standard three-game ban would be sufficient.

Bean, who was responsible for investigating football disciplinary issues as the FA's first-ever compliance officer between 1999 and 2003, believes that stance resulted in a longer ban than might have otherwise been imposed.

But he also argued that the FA should have taken more time to decide on an appropriate punishment for Suarez.

"The FA's rules meant Suarez was guaranteed a minimum three-match suspension, so that would have given the FA three weeks to decide how many more matches should be added," he told the Daily Telegraph.

"There was no need to rush this case through while emotions were still running high, while Suarez should have been given more time to prepare a mitigation case.

"But Liverpool must themselves take some of the blame for the length of the suspension. After grabbing the moral high ground earlier in the week by dealing with the matter swiftly and strongly, I believe that they made a fatal mistake when challenging the assertion from the FA that the punishment should be more than three matches.

"It was clear to anyone with any knowledge of the disciplinary process that the action of biting another player in the manner in which he did was worthy of more than the standard penalty.

"By challenging that I think that, between them, Suarez and Liverpool brought about the mammoth ban.

"If Suarez had simply accepted the charge, it is highly likely he would have received credit for doing so and, at the same time, saved himself a couple of games."

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre said Suarez and the club were "shocked and disappointed" by the length of the ban.

But Bean advised against an appeal, saying: "Liverpool's next dilemma is whether or not to appeal against the decision. My advice would be take it on the chin and move on."

Suarez received an eight-game suspension after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra during a Premier League match in October 2011.

Bean believes the fact that the FA was accused of leniency in that case created pressure to ensure that firmer action was taken this time.

He added: "When even the Prime Minister has said Suarez ought be given an exemplary sanction, a 10-game ban does feel like the FA disciplinary panel blowing with the wind.

"Many see the eight-game punishment meted out to Suárez for racially abusing Patrice Evra as a sign of weakness from those at the governing body, so it appears the FA wanted to make sure that it got this one right."

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