Rodgers slams FA over Suarez ban

25 Apr 2013 17:17:01

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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has slammed the Football Association for prejudicing the hearing that resulted in a 10-match ban for Luis Suarez.

Reds striker Suarez was hit with the suspension on Wednesday after biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during Sunday's 2-2 draw at Anfield.

The Uruguay international will miss the rest of this season and the first six games of next season and it has been reported that Suarez is now considering whether to quit English football in protest at the severity of the punishment.

Faced with the possibility of losing his star forward, who has scored 30 times for Liverpool this season, Rodgers on Thursday turned his fire on the FA.

He was infuriated not only by the independent panel's ruling, but also the FA's decision to state prior to the hearing that the statutory three-match suspension for violent conduct would be "insufficient".

"We need to understand what an independent panel is," Rodgers said. "We had been given clear indications by the FA that there was going to be an independent - or so-called independent - case put together and then we would receive what that sanction would be.

"If you are an independent panel and yet the day beforehand the FA come out and say he (Suarez) will serve more than three games it is not independent because they are already putting pressure on the sanction.

"There is a prejudice there straightaway. Everyone has their opinion - which is normal.

"People will be emotional in their statements - former players of the club and ex-players of other clubs having their opinions - the Prime Minister even chipped in, which is a different matter altogether.

"But when you look at it in the cold light of day then it was violent conduct.

"It is the first time I have ever heard of an independent inquiry being dictated to by so many people.

"There is absolutely no doubt there should be a protocol in place which tells us what the variances are because there are inconsistencies there."

Claiming that Suarez has been victimised due to his controversial personality, Rodgers referred to the 2006 cases of Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe, who escaped with just a booking for biting West Ham's Javier Mascherano and Chester's Sean Hessey, who was banned for five matches for a bite on Stockport's Liam Dickinson.

"There have been two incidents of this type of scenario. One player received no ban and continued to be chosen by the FA as part of the England squad," he added.

"The second player received a five-game ban - so as you can imagine when Luis Suarez receives a 10-game ban it is very difficult to understand, and even more so for Luis.

"For him to receive that (10-match ban), when the comparisons of the similar incidents is somewhat different, then that is what is hard to take."

Suarez was fined for the incident but Rodgers said there was no thought of imposing a club ban as they knew an FA sanction would be swift.

However, they did not expect it to be so harsh, even though the 26-year-old has a previous seven-game ban for biting PSV midfielder Otman Bakkal while playing for Ajax on his record and an eight-match suspension last season for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.

"It is the severity of the ban that has hurt most," Rodgers added.

"That is something we are bitterly disappointed with - not so much the ban because everyone has seen it and Luis was very open and honest to know it was wrong.

"I felt it could have been 12 games but with a six-game ban and six games suspended, looking at his future behaviour.

"I can't help but look at it and look at the sanction which has been put on Luis and I honestly feel the punishment has been against the man rather than the incident."

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