Suarez urged to seek help

Updated: 2014-06-29 07:48

By Agence France-Presse in Rio de Janeiro (China Daily)

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Uruguay forward Luis Suarez returned home to a hero's welcome on Friday after his World Cup ban for biting, as calls mounted for him to seek professional treatment.

Hundreds of well-wishers gathered in Montevideo to greet Suarez as Uruguayans, led by the country's president, closed ranks around the disgraced soccer star.

Suarez was hit with a worldwide four-month ban from soccer on Thursday after he sank his teeth into Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini.

It is the third time in four years that Suarez has been sanctioned for biting.

FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke led calls for Suarez to seek help, brushing off suggestions the Liverpool star's punishment was too severe.

Asked if he had a message for Suarez, Valcke said: "I think he should find a way to stop doing it. He should go through a treatment.."

The international professional footballers' union, FIFPro, said FIFA should have made mandatory treatment part of its sanction.

"Luis Suarez should receive all the support he needs to deal with any off-field issues he may be experiencing at this time," said a FIFPro statement.

"This means that the focus should be on the rehabilitation and serious treatment of the player. FIFPro believes that treatment must be a part of any sanction."

Bite victim Chiellini expressed sympathy for Suarez and criticized FIFA's punishment, which is the heaviest imposed on a player during a World Cup.

"I have always considered unequivocal the disciplinary interventions by the competent bodies, but at the same time I believe that the proposed formula is excessive," said Chiellini.

(China Daily 06/29/2014 page12)