LONDON — Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has been suspended for 10 matches for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in last weekend’s English Premier League match at Anfield, the Football Association said on Wednesday.
"A three-person Independent Regulatory Commission today upheld the FA’s claim that a suspension of three matches was clearly insufficient and the player will serve a further seven first-team matches in addition to the standard three," the FA said on its website thefa.com.
"The suspension begins with immediate effect," it added, ruling him out for the remaining four games of this season and the first six games of the 2013-14 campaign.
Liverpool were quick to react, with MD Ian Ayre declaring: "Both the club and player are shocked and disappointed at the severity of today’s Independent Regulatory Commission decision.
"We await the written reasons tomorrow (Thursday) before making any further comment."
Suarez has until midday (11am GMT) on Friday to appeal the additional suspension to the violent conduct charge against Ivanovic in Sunday’s 2-2 draw.
The Uruguayan striker had pleaded guilty to the charge but had denied the FA’s claim that his initial three-match ban was not enough.
Suarez has apologised to Ivanovic, who suffered a bruised arm from the bite, and the Chelsea defender has acknowledged the apology.
Police have also said that Ivanovic will not press charges.
Liverpool moved quickly to deal with the latest crisis surrounding their star striker and imposed an unspecified club fine, which is being donated to the support group for families affected by the Hillsborough stadium disaster, in which 96 people died.
The 26-year-old Suarez is no stranger to lengthy bans.
In 2010 he was suspended for seven matches in the Netherlands when he sank his teeth into PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal, leading to him being dubbed the "Cannibal of Ajax".
And last year the FA banned him for eight matches and imposed a £40,000 ($60,000, 46,000 euros) ban for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra.
French defender Evra made fun of Suarez after United captured the Premier League title with victory over Aston Villa on Monday by producing a bloodied fake arm.
Suarez has run into trouble playing for his country too.
At the 2010 World Cup in South Africa he hit the headlines with a deliberate handball on the line preventing Ghana’s Dominic Adiyiah from scoring. Suarez was sent off.
A penalty was awarded but missed by Asamoah Gyan and footage showed Suarez celebrating on the sidelines. Uruguay eventually went through to the last four on penalties.
The latest controversy came just two days after Suarez was named on the shortlist for the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award.
With the votes already counted, the forward will remain eligible for the award.
Suarez’s 10-game ban is marginally lighter than the 12-match suspension received by QPR midfielder Joey Barton for two counts of violent conduct against Manchester City in the final game of last season.
In 1998, Paolo Di Canio — now Sunderland manager — was banned for 11 games for pushing a referee while playing for Sheffield Wednesday.
Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand was suspended for eight months for missing a drugs test in 2003 while Mark Bosnich and Eric Cantona were each banned for nine months.
Old Trafford player Cantona’s punishment came after he launched a kung fu-style kick against a supporter at Crystal Palace in 1995, while Chelsea goalkeeper Bosnich was sanctioned after testing positive for cocaine in 2003.