PM clarifies Suarez comments
Prime Minister David Cameron insists Luis Suarez's punishment for biting is a matter for the Football Association - and that his own intervention in the matter was merely that of a concerned father.
- Related Content
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers reacted angrily to his star striker's 10-match ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic, claiming that remarks from both the FA and Cameron had affected the impartiality of the independent panel hearing his case.
The FA stated the standard three-match ban for violent conduct was "clearly insufficient" in Suarez's case when announcing he had been charged on Monday, while Cameron said earlier this week: "I think it would be very understandable if (the panel) took into account the fact that high-profile players are often role models."
The Prime Minister told BBC Radio Five Live on Friday morning: "I made my own views clear just as a dad watching the game.
"I've got a seven-year-old son who just loves watching football and when players behave like this it just sets the most appalling example to young people in our country."
Pressed on whether a 10-match ban was appropriate for the offence, he added: "That's up to the FA, it's not my decision.
"The FA make the decision, they're entirely independent and that is the way it should work.
"I'm going to leave it entirely to the FA. But if you're asking me as a dad and as a human being, do I think we should have tough penalties when players behave like this, yes I think we should.
"There are people, I've read in some newspapers, who think somehow this isn't serious. I think it is serious, when we're trying to bring up our children properly, they do see football players as role models.
"Bringing up children is one of the toughest things we do but you can't wrap them in cotton wool and hide them away from the world, they do see these real-life examples and they repeat them back to you."
Rodgers claimed the comments from the FA and the Prime Minister, among others, had "prejudiced" the decision of the independent panel which handed down the ban.
"We had been given clear indications by the FA that there was going to be an independent - or so-called independent - case put together and then we would receive what that sanction would be," he said.
"If you are an independent panel and yet the day beforehand the FA come out and say he (Suarez) will serve more than three games it is not independent because they are already putting pressure on the sanction.
"There is a prejudice there straight away.
"Everyone has their opinion - which is normal. People will be emotional in their statements - former players of the club and ex-players of other clubs having their opinions - the Prime Minister even chipped in, which is a different matter altogether.
"(Suarez) fell way below the standards set at the club but it doesn't mean he should be thrown to the garbage, which is what has happened with a lot of people in the last few days."
Liverpool have until midday today to confirm whether they intend to appeal the punishment, after studying the panel's written reasons for the suspension.
Rodgers remains confident the latest controversy in Suarez's relatively short spell in England - he has so far been banned for 18 matches in just over 28 months after receiving an eight-game suspension for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra - will not force him out.
"It is arguable he will have a better season (Suarez has scored 30 goals) than he has had this season yet he has still come under scrutiny and received criticism," he added.
"I don't think it (the ban) was right, it was too severe, and that will make you think, there is no question about that.
"At this moment in time I am sure he will feel really low because of the sanction that has been put on his actions.
"I think it is a 'crime' which we all see at the football club as something that shouldn't have happened.
"We knew he would get the punishment - we just never thought it would be so severe it would put him out of playing until October."