World Cup 2014: Uruguayan President Defends Suarez in Biting Incident
Jose 'Pepe' Mujica publicly stood by the player, who is now under observation by FIFA and risks being dropped by sponsors.
BUENOS AIRES – Uruguayan president Jose 'Pepe' Mujica publicly stood behind player Luis Suarez today in the dispute surrounding the player's biting incident in the match against Italy yesterday.
"We didn’t choose him to be a philosopher, a mechanic, or to have good manners. He’s an excellent soccer player," Mujica told reporters.
Famous for his down-to-earth style and liberal politics, Mujica defended Suarez's controversial actions. "In soccer, I was always told that the word of the referee is what counts," he said. "If we’re now going to start making calls based on what we see on TV, there are lots of penalties and hand-fouls that have gone uncalled for. So, tough luck," he added.
Although the referee never saw it, Suarez’s foul on Italian player Giorgio Chiellini was clearly visible on the official broadcast. The footage went viral instantly and triggered worldwide reactions through social media.
This is the third time the Liverpool team player has had disciplinary problems for biting adversaries on the field. The last incident took place in April 2013 and cost him a ten-match ban from the Premier League.
"They don’t forgive the faults he might have," said Mujica, who agreed with the notion of an "anti-Suarez campaign" in the media, an argument that was also used at press conferences by Uruguay’s coach, Oscar Tabarez, and Suarez’s teammate Diego Lugano.
While FIFA has opened a disciplinary case against Suarez, some the player’s sponsors were forced to take a stand in the matter. Sponsor 888 Poker tweeted: "Following recent allegations made against Luis Suarez, we are reviewing our relationship with him. We will not tolerate unsporting behavior." Also, Adidas issued a statement saying it awaits FIFA’s "full investigation into this matter and will respond accordingly."