Biting not offensive in South America, claims Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez has defended himself following reports he bit Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic, claiming the act of biting another person is a common cultural practice in his homeland of Uruguay, and does not have the offensive undertones it has here in Britain.
Television cameras appeared to show Suarez biting Ivanovic's arm as the two tussled in the penalty area during Liverpool's 2-2 draw with Chelsea, but the Reds striker has declared himself bewildered by the media attention that has followed.
"Where I come from, it is common for people to bite one another in a jovial manner," said Suarez, who is known in his native Uruguay as 'el lunático que muerde todo', or 'The Nutjob Who's Always Biting People'.
"When people see me sinking my teeth into Ivanovic's arm in a blind, lunatic rage, they naturally jump to conclusions," Suarez continued. "But I meant no offence. It was a comical nibble; a wink with my jaws.
"Anyway, he was holding me with his fingers, which everyone knows are the teeth of the hands, so really he started it."
But critics claim that Suarez should have been aware that biting an opponent is not acceptable.
While playing for Ajax, the 26-year old was sent off for eating an opponent's arm, something he claimed at the time was 'akin to putting your thumb on your nose and waggling your fingers in Holland.'
However, Suarez's hopes of escaping a ban look slim, based on previous instances of Premier League biting. In 2006, Tottenham's Jermain Defoe escaped a ban after biting Javier Mascherano, establishing the precedent that while South Americans may under no circumstances bite anyone, they themselves may be bitten with impunity.