SUAREZ MAY PLAY FOR LIVERPOOL IN AUGUST DESPITE BEING SLAMMED 10 MATCH BAN FOR BITING IVANOVIC
Uruguayan international and Liverpool striker Luis Suarez could
return to competitive action in the first week of July despite picking up a ten-match ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic and he has Liverpool's fair play this season to thank for it.
This is due to the fact that Liverpool could still make it into the Europa League next season through the UEFA Fair Play League
If they do qualify, Brendan Rodgers' men
would have to play six competitive qualification games before the
season starts, and Suarez would be eligible for all of them.
This would still mean Suarez would be
banned for the first six domestic games of next season, but it could see
the disgraced star playing nine competitive games if Liverpool progress
to the group stage before he is eligible for a return to Premier League
The book was thrown at the 26-year-old
by the FA for his savage attack on Ivanovic in Sunday's 2-2 draw at
Anfield, but the ban will not affect Liverpool's placing in the Premier
League fair play table, where they are second. Only
cards issued on the pitch are taken into consideration in the fair play
standings, with retrospective disciplinary action ignored.
will offer a place in next season's Europa League competition to the
top ranking club from each of the top three fairest European leagues.
are currently fourth behind Norway, Sweden and Finland in the overall
rankings, but have a month to make up the difference.
are second behind Arsenal in the Premier League fair play table, but
with the Gunners looking set to finish in fifth place at the very least,
Brendan Rodgers' men would take the qualification place. His
side have 49 yellow cards and two reds this season, given to Daniel
Agger and Jonjo Shelvey earlier in the campaign, but the fair play table
also takes into account positive play, respect towards opponents and
the referee and behaviour of team officials and public.
The only downside to qualifying for
the competition through the fair play route is that Liverpool would
start their competitive season on July 4 for the first leg of the first
This means Suarez could be involved in
nine competitive games before his domestic ban is lifted, meaning the
Merseyside club's influential goalscorer will not struggle to gain match
fitness for his return to top-flight football.
had accepted the FA charge of violent conduct but claimed his ban
should be three games, the standard punishment for violent conduct, but
the striker is a repeat offender.
Liverpool, who have until midday on Friday to appeal, said they were "shocked and disappointed" at the length of the suspension.
ban covers their final four games of this season and the first six
games of next season, meaning Suarez may not play again in domestic competition until October.