Brazil legend Pele believes the punishment FIFA handed out to Luis Suarez following his bite on Giorgio Chiellini is a fair and proportionate one.
Suarez was banned from all football-related activity for four months following the incident in the 79th minute of Uruguay’s World Cup Group D match with Italy in Natal last Tuesday.
And Pele believes the ban, which was accompanied by a fine of £66,000 for the Liverpool striker, sends a strong message that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated on a football pitch.
“It’s something unprecedented,” the three-time World Cup winner said.
“Of course some people react badly when something has happened to them but it’s always been a headbutt, an elbow or a kick from a player when fighting for the ball.
“But a bite. This is the first time that something like this has happened in the World Cup. Even for us who were on the pitch this is something that was unprecedented.
“I think the decision from FIFA is a good one and the right one because they have to make an example.
“If they don’t, this could spread. This shouldn’t be done by anyone or copied by anyone.
“So I think it was fair because it acts as a precedent from now and it is clear that there are consequences for the action.”
Earlier this week, Argentina legend Diego Maradona appeared on his Venezuelan talk-show and criticised the severity of FIFA’s punishment.
Wearing a T-shirt which translated as ‘Little Luis we are with you’, the 53-year-old, 1986 World Cup-winner said: “The FIFA sanction is shameful, they have no sensitivity towards the fans, they might as well handcuff him and throw him in Guantanamo.
“It hurts that they have cut short the career of a lad who is a winner. It’s an excessive suspension. FIFA cannot talk about morals to anyone.
“Suarez didn’t kill anyone. This is an unjust punishment, the act of an incredible mafia.”