Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Sports

Uruguayans defend Suarez, allege bias

RIO DE JANEIRO — A day after Uruguay 's Luis Suarez bit a player, his teammates, coaches and federation officials defended the star, blaming the foreign media, his Italian opponents and uneven treatment Wednesday.

Suarez's disciplinary problems include bans of seven and 10 games for biting opponents in the Netherlands and England. World Cup officials did not say when or if he will punished. Uruguay plays Colombia on Saturday in the round of 16.

Suarez was coping well, Uruguay's federation president said.

"He's been through 1,001 battles," Wilmar Valdez said. "We all know who Luis is, and that's why we have to defend him."

Valdez said Uruguay officials would send video of the incident showing Suarez as a victim of Italian aggression.

"When he falls, several substitutes insult him on the ground," Valdez said. "And some members of Italy's staff even came off of the bench to try to hit him."

Federation board member and Suarez's lawyer, Alejandro Balbi, and teammate Diego Lugano blamed the media.

"The British media has a vendetta against Suarez, and everyone knows that," Lugano said.

"It's obvious the vendetta sells newspapers in England."

Lugano said he has seen "much more violent plays."

"It was a normal taunt in football," he said. "And the world press ends up talking about something totally trivial."

Germans healthy: German coach Joachim Loew said defender Jerome Boateng and midfielder Sami Khedira will be available today against the United States. They left Saturday's game against Ghana with a sore left thigh and sore left knee, respectively. But Loew did not say if they will start.

Money dispute: Ghana has asked FIFA for an advance on the $8 million prize money it is guaranteed in a bid to appease players unhappy at being denied bonus payments. FIFA said the request was "under evaluation."

Earlier Wednesday, Ghana's deputy sports minister said the nation's president, John Dramani Mahama, would make sure $3 million in cash would arrive in Brasilia by plane today.

Prize money, $8 million for being knocked out in the group stage to $35 million for winning the title, is normally paid after the tournament.

Asked what the players will do with the cash, which the Associated Press reported is between $75,000 and $100,000 per player, midfielder Christian Atsu said, "I think we will keep it in our bags and we'll just lock them."

Players aren't being paid by electronic transfer because, coach Kwesi Appiah said, "The practice in Ghana has always been paying the money in cash."

Coaches out: Carlos Queiroz won't return as Iran's coach while Alberto Zaccheroni and Luis Fernando Suarez stepped down as coach of Japan and Honduras, respectively. All three failed to reach the knockout stage. Queiroz said the sides failed to agree to financial terms on a new contract. Zaccheroni said he wasn't satisfied with his team's results, which included a 0-0 tie against 10-man Greece. Suarez apologized after Honduras went 0-3.

Coach in: Portugal coach Paulo Bento said he intends to stay on even if the team fails to advance. He said there is an agreement between him and the federation that gives him until the 2016 European championships.

Quotable: "We have studied new schemes, new models, and I think we will score. We're bound to score." — Russia captain Vasily Berezutskiy, whose team has scored one goal in two games and must beat Algeria today to have a chance of advancing.

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