Uruguay to appeal against Suarez ban

Montevideo: The Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) said Thursday it would appeal against a four month global ban imposed against star striker Luis Suarez for biting an Italian opponent at the World Cup.

AUF president Wilmar Valdez called the FIFA punishment against Suarez, also comprising a nine-match international ban, "totally exaggerated".

He said the appeal would be lodged on Thursday.

"We feel the decision is totally over the top because for us there was no incontrovertible proof to warrant such a tough punishment," Valdez told reporters in Rio.

"Uruguay does not seek privileges or exceptions. What Uruguay does ask is that the law be applied equally to all and FIFA should ensure that is the case.

"And we have seen more or similarly aggressive incidents than that involving Luis Suarez and yet (in those cases FIFA`s) disciplinary commission did not act as it is now doing," he complained.

But he added he did not think Suarez was being victimised.

Uruguayan skipper Diego Lugano meanwhile posted a message to social media saying the squad were aghast at the punishment but felt powerless to do anything.

"Indignant. Powerless. I think this is what we all feel," said Lugano, but "those who are in charge are in charge.

"A hug to Luis, who as always will bounce back.

"We will carry on with humility, solidarity, commitment, recognising our mistakes and with our heads always held high," said Lugano, who was sat on the bench for the match as he was injured.

FIFA banned Suarez after his bite on Italy`s Giorgio Chiellini in Tuesday`s final group match, the suspension ending the controversial forward`s involvement at the World Cup.

It is the third time the 27-year-old South American star had been banned for biting an opponent after a previous case while at Ajax in 2010 and last year playing for Liverpool when he bit the arm of Chelsea`s Branislav Ivanovic. Uruguayan Sports Minister Liliam Kechichian blasted the punishment for Suarez as "disproportionate."

She vowed to discuss the matter with Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, who Wednesday had already backed the player.

"I have seen many World Cups and many incidents involving hard contact (between players)," said Kechichian.

But "this is the greatest injustice to have resulted" from such a clash said Kechichian.

"This is something which affects the whole of Uruguayan society."

Mujica had Wednesday indicated Suarez had his full support.

"I did not see him bite anybody," said Mujica, adding that "I was taught that in football what happens is down to the referee," who did not appear to have seen the incident and therefore did not sanction Suarez.

Uruguayan press and social media users united to express solidarity with Suarez and blast his punishment as overly severe as the team now look to get past Colombia on Saturday without him.

Web users used the hashtag #TodosSomosSuarez (we are all Suarez) to express indignation and blame everybody save for Suarez.

"Indignant at the FIFA resolution. Go Uruguay. We are all Suarez!!", said Monica Xavier, senator and president of the leftist Frente Amplio grouping while opposition senator Alfredo Solari blamed the English.

"English leaders make me sick -- sore losers. They forgot all about fair play."

Pablo Mieres, a candidate for the Independent Party, said the FIFA ban "shows that FIFA always has been biased. Now more than ever we must win!"

Nacional club, where Suarez started his playing career, offered him "total support" while journalist Federico Paz tweeted "9 matches ... who did Luis kill?"

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