RIO DE JANEIRO - Uruguay striker Luis Suarez is out of the World Cup after being handed a nine-match ban by FIFA for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini.
Soccer's governing body said yesterday that Suarez is also banned from any football-related activity or from entering any football stadium for four months, meaning the Liverpool striker will miss the start of the Premier League and the Champions League season.
It is the biggest match ban ever imposed by FIFA at a World Cup and follows similar incidents involving Suarez.
He will not only miss Uruguay's remaining World Cup matches, starting with Saturday's round of 16 clash against Colombia, but also potentially all the 2015 Copa America matches in Chile. Uruguay are the defending champions.
Having been stripped of his World Cup accreditation, FIFA ordered Suarez out of the Uruguyan team's hotel, as his teammates travelled to Rio de Janiero for their next match.
Suarez boarded a private plane in Natal with his wife, two children and an official of the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF).
FIFA had opened disciplinary proceedings against the star striker after an incident involving Chiellini in Natal on Tuesday.
In the 79th minute, Suarez pushed his head towards Chiellini in the penalty area. The infringement was not noticed by the referee at the time, but television footage showed him biting the defender's left shoulder.
Suarez breached two articles of the FIFA relating to assault and unsporting behaviour towards another player, FIFA said.
"The player Luis Suarez is to be suspended for nine official matches," it said.
"The first match of this suspension is to be served in the upcoming FIFA World Cup fixture between Colombia and Uruguay on 28 June 2014.
"The Disciplinary Committee took into account all the factors of the case and the degree of Mr Suarez's guilt in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Code."
Disciplinary committee chairman Claudio Sulser said in the statement: "Such behaviour cannot be tolerated on any football pitch, and in particular not at a FIFA World Cup when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field."