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FIFA defends Suarez ban

Liverpool are continuing to consider their options over disgraced striker Luis Suarez as FIFA has defended its decision to ban him from football for four months for biting an opponent.

Suarez left the Uruguay camp in Brazil and returned home to Montevideo after the governing body's disciplinary committee imposed a ban of nine international matches, as well as a lengthy total suspension that will devastate his club's plans for the new Premier League season.

The 27-year-old, dealt with as a serial biting offender by the FIFA panel who took two previous cases into consideration before delivering its verdict on Thursday, intends to appeal the sanctions, though the Uruguayan FA has yet to submit a formal complaint.

A potentially protracted appeal process could delay Liverpool confirming their next move.

Anfield officials are still awaiting full documentation from the disciplinary committee - details which may not be revealed until after the appeal process is concluded - but are understood to have taken specialist legal advice.

FIFA's ruling states that Suarez cannot take part in any football-related activity - including entering any stadia - for the duration of his ban but lawyers are still trying to ascertain the minutae of the case, with ramifications for the forward's training regime still to become clear.

The four-month suspension does not extend to transfers and it is understood neither Barcelona nor Real Madrid have been put off by the latest development in Suarez's controversial career.

Support for Suarez came on Friday from the player he bit in Uruguay's final group fixture - Italy's Giorgio Chiellini.

The Azzurri defender declared the punishment "excessive", while Suarez's lawyer described the ban as "grotesque and absurd".

But while FIFA president Sepp Blatter sidestepped questions on the subject, general secretary Jerome Valcke defended the sanctions - and urged Suarez to seek treatment.

Speaking at FIFA's daily media briefing in Rio de Janeiro, Valcke said: "A message to Luis Suarez? I think he should find a way to stop doing it. I think he shoud go through treatment because it's definitely wrong.

"It's not the first time. If it's the first time, it's an incident. If it's more than one time it's not just an incident and that's why the sanction has to be exemplary."

Responding to Chiellini's criticism of the duration of the ban, he added: "You will always find someone who thinks the punishment is excessive.

"This decision has been made by the disciplinary committee based on what they have seen. It was seen by millions of people and it is not what you want children around the world who are playing football to see. Wherever you are playing football, whatever you are doing in life, this should not happen."

Should he remain at Anfield, Suarez will miss at least 12 club games - nine Premier League matches plus three Champions League games, and potentially a Capital One Cup match too - before a return at the end of October.