International football officials met Wednesday to decide whether Uruguay striker Luis Suarez should be punished — possibly thrown out of the World Cup — for biting an opponent.
A disciplinary panel gathered evidence against Suarez, who shocked football when he was shown sinking his teeth into Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini.
As Suarez has been banned twice before, for the same offence, awaited the outcome of the disciplinary hearing, Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica rallied his country to the footballer’s cause.
“I did not see him bite anyone,” Mujica told reporters. “But they give each other so many kicks and blows and normally they put up with it.”
Uruguay Football Association chief Wilmar Valdez presented evidence on Suarez’s behalf to a FIFA panel in Rio.
“We believe that there is not sufficient evidence to truly sanction Luis,” Valdez told Uruguay’s Channel 10 television.
FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer said earlier the disciplinary committee wanted to reach a decision on Suarez’s case “as early as possible.”
Fischer would not speculate on any possible punishment, although she said Suarez’s previous offences could be taken into account.
Uruguay are due to face Colombia in the last 16 on Saturday.
* Photo “New Strait times”