Tabarez keen to move on from Suarez 'witch-hunt'

Uruguay have put the "witch-hunt" of Luis Suarez behind them to focus on the Copa America, says coach Oscar Tabarez.

Uruguay are planning for life without Luis Suarez as Oscar Tabarez aims to put the "witch-hunt" surrounding his FIFA ban behind them.

Suarez will not be available for the Copa America later this year following his nine-match ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini during Uruguay's clash with Italy at the World Cup.

Tabarez branded the punishment as "excessive" at the time and quit his role with FIFA's strategic committee, but he has put the incident behind him.

"I'm not angry," told, the official website of the Copa America. "I can't object to a punishment for a footballer when he has done something that is not permitted in the rules – that's not good.

"But when there's a witch-hunt and one does not respect a person that has made a mistake, that upsets me. But that is a closed case. 

"I don't hold any malice towards them [FIFA] and don't want to cause any issues. During the World Cup, I just said what I was feeling at the time, that was how I saw things. But I have a clear conscience and it's something we don’t need to talk about too much now."

While he would like to have the Barcelona forward available for Uruguay's defence of the Copa America, Tabarez insists they will be able to cope without him.

He added: "We are working to make sure we have a competitive team without Suarez. 

"We have played games without him before, like the one against Venezuela [in June 2013] which we had to win to qualify for the World Cup and we won without Suarez then. 

"It's the same as asking what happens to Argentina if they don't have [Lionel] Messi. Or which defender would play if Spain didn't have Sergio Ramos. 

"Nearly all teams rely on their individuality, but I don't believe Uruguay will lose what they have because Suarez is not there. 

"He will only miss the Copa America, but he will be back for the next World Cup and for the qualifying games."