World Cup: Betting Firm Ends Luis Suarez Sponsorship Deal Over Biting Incident
LONDON – Uruguay star striker Luis Suarez's monthslong ban from world soccer for a biting incident is having a first commercial impact.
Gibraltar-based betting firm 888poker has canceled a sponsorship deal with Suarez following the decision by world soccer organizing body FIFA to ban him for four months, meaning he will miss the rest of the World Cup in Brazil. Suarez is also banned from playing in Uruguay's next nine competitive games after biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup game earlier this week.
Suarez has previously bitten two other players in top soccer competitions.
"888poker signed Luis Suarez following a fantastic season [at English soccer club Liverpool], for which his achievements were widely recognized," Sky News quoted a statement from the company. "Regrettably, following his actions during Uruguay's World Cup match against Italy on Tuesday, 888poker has decided to terminate its relationship with Luis Suarez with immediate effect."
Sky News said the betting firm declined to put a price tag on the value of the sponsorship deal, but added that it is understood the contract has only been in effect for a few weeks.
German sportswear giant Adidas is also reviewing it's relationship with Suarez. It said it would hold talks with the star striker after the World Cup about a sponsorship deal estimated to be worth $1.7 million. The company had last year cautioned the player after he bit a defender of English Premier League club Chelsea.
"Adidas certainly does not condone Suarez's recent behavior, and we will again be reminding him of the high standards we expect from our players," it said after the World Cup incident. "We have no plan to use Suarez for any additional marketing activities during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
It added: "We will discuss all aspects of our future partnership directly with Suarez and his team following the World Cup."