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Suarez ponders future after ten match ban

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Luis Suarez might have been hoping that the FA's bark was worse than its bite. He was to be disappointed. The disciplinary committee handed out a ten match ban for Suarez's munch on the arm of Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic. The controversial Uruguayan forward will now miss all the rest of this season and the start of next. The player is reported to be considering his future in English football.

Although Suarez had been quick to apologise for his actions, it was clear that he and the club thought he would get away with the usual three match ban for violent conduct. The FA disagreed. "A three-man independent regulatory commission upheld the FA's claim that a suspension of three matches was clearly insufficient," their statement explained. "The player will serve a further suspension of seven first-team matches in addition to the standard three.

The club reacted with some dismay when it discovered that the penalty was much harsher than anticipated. Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre said the club was "shocked and disappointed at the severity of the decision. We are awaiting the written reasons before we make any further comment."

The ban will mean that Suarez won't play any football until September. He already felt that an earlier eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra was unjust, and is beginning to believe that the English authorities have a grudge against him.

Despite his disciplinary problems, Suarez has scored 30 times for Liverpool this season. His goals have made the difference between Brendan Rogers's first season as Liverpool manager being a disaster and being merely unimpressive.

Liverpool can ill afford to lose him, but the ban makes that a distinct possibility. Pep Guardiola's brother Pere is Suarez's agent. With Guardiola taking over at Bayern Munich next season, Suarez might relish a move to the club that seems to have established itself as the strongest in Europe after the recent 4-0 demolition of Barcelona.

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