Uruguay's president Jose Mujica has branded FIFA's four-month ban on Luis Suarez as "an assault on the poor".
Suarez was handed the sanction - banning him from all football-related activity, as well as a nine-match international suspension - for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini.
The incident, which has cast a shadow over the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, occurred during Uruguay's 1-0 win on Tuesday, a result which saw them qualify from Group D in second place behind Costa Rica.
It is the third time Suarez has been found guilty of biting an opponent, after similar incidents involving Ajax's Otman Bakkal in 2010 and Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic last year.
Former Argentina captain Diego Maradona has come out in support of the Liverpool forward and, on his television show De Zurda, the 1986 World Cup winner spoke to president Mujica via video link.
"We feel that this is an assault on the poor because this gang will never forgive him because he never went to university," Mujica said, in quotes reported by The Guardian.
"He isn't educated, he grew up on the field, and he is a natural rebel and expresses his anger naturally.
"There's no doubt (that worse things have happened at the tournament).
"We have seen all the games and this is a different punishment. This is the most indignant punishment.
"Here they add everything together but the boy really shouldn't be blamed for his reaction.
"It's a match and these things happen and then there's no need to look into every incident, because if we did that in every game we'd be playing five-a-side."comments