The Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) have promised to staunchly defend Luis Suarez after Fifa launched a probe into allegations that he had punched a Chilean opponent during a South American World Cup qualifier last month.
Argentine referee Nestor
Pitana missed the incident during Chile's 2-0 victory in Santiago on March 26
when forward Suarez and Gonzalo Jara tussled in the penalty area at a
Uruguayan media reports said Suarez, who plays his club football
at Liverpool, reacted after Jara, who also plays in England for Championship
(second division) side Nottingham Forest, grabbed his genitals.
again we feel Suarez is being persecuted by different football leagues, mainly
the English, and we think this is unjust because it's a normal action in
football," AUF president Sebastian Bauza said.
"We will defend him very
strongly. We are working with all the videos and pictures showing Suarez reacted
to an initial aggression from Jara," he was quoted as saying on South American
governing body Conmebol's website (www.conmebol.com).
The AUF earlier
confirmed to Reuters that soccer's world governing body were investigating the
incident and said they would be consulting their lawyers before making their
case ahead of an April 17 deadline.
Suarez, who has scored eight goals in
the qualifiers, was booked for a separate infringement and is suspended for
Uruguay's next qualifier away to Venezuela on June 11.
It was a second
yellow card for Suarez, who was booked in a 1-1 draw against Ecuador in
Montevideo last September.
Uruguay, World Cup semi-finalists in South
Africa in 2010 and Copa America winners a year later, have taken only two points
from their last six qualifying matches and are in danger of failing to reach the
2014 finals in Brazil.
Suarez, who is no stranger to controversy, was
sent off for saving the ball with his hands during Uruguay's 2010 World Cup
quarter-final against Ghana. The African side failed to score from the resulting
penalty and lost the match in a shootout.
The Premier League's top scorer
with 22 goals this term has also found himself in trouble playing for Liverpool
in the past, notably being banned for eight matches last season for racially
insulting Manchester United's France defender Patrice Evra.
to diving against Stoke City last October, but claimed he was picked on by the
British media, and got away with handball as he scored the winner in an FA Cup
tie in January.
Before joining Liverpool from Ajax Amsterdam in January
2011 Suarez was handed a hefty ban for biting an opponent's ear.