LONDON – Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has been suspended for 10 matches for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in last weekend’s English Premier League match at Anfield, the Football Association said on Wednesday.
“A three-person Independent Regulatory Commission today upheld The FA’s claim that a suspension of three matches was clearly insufficient and the player will serve a further seven first-team matches in addition to the standard three,” the FA said on its website thefa.com.
“The suspension begins with immediate effect,” it added, effectively ruling him for the start of next season.
Liverpool were quick to react, with managing director Ian Ayre declaring the club was “shocked and disappointed” by the “severity” of the FA’s decision.
Suarez has until midday (1100 GMT) on Friday to appeal the additional suspension to the violent conduct charge against Ivanovic in Sunday’s 2-2 draw.
The Uruguayan striker had pleaded guilty to the charge but had denied the FA’s claim that his initial three-match ban was not enough.
The 26-year-old Suarez is no stranger to lengthy bans.
In 2010 he was suspended for seven matches in the Netherlands when he sank his teeth into PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal, leading to him being dubbed the “Cannibal of Ajax”.
And last year the FA banned him for eight matches and imposed a £40,000 ($60,000, 46,000 euros) ban for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra.
French defender Evra made fun of Suarez after United captured the Premier League title with victory over Aston Villa on Monday by producing a bloodied fake arm.
Suarez has apologised to Ivanovic, who suffered a bruised arm from the bite, and the Chelsea defender has acknowledged the apology.
Liverpool moved quickly to deal with the latest crisis surrounding their star striker and imposed a club fine which is being donated to the support group for families affected by the Hillsborough stadium disaster, in which 96 people died.
The latest controversy came just two days after Suarez was named on the shortlist for the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award.
With the votes already counted, the forward will remain eligible for the award.