LONDON - Gambling website 888poker has "terminated its relationship" with Uruguay's Luis Suarez following his biting the shoulder of Italy's Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, the company announced Friday.
Their move to disassociate themselves from Suarez came a day after the Liverpool striker was kicked out of the World Cup and given a four-month suspension from all football, as well as a nine-match international ban by FIFA, the sport's global governing body, for his attack on Chiellini during Uruguay's Group D win on Tuesday.
"888poker signed Luis Suarez following a fantastic season for which his achievements were widely recognised," the company said in a statement following the third biting incident of the player's career.
"Regrettably, following his actions during Uruguay's World Cup match against Italy on Tuesday, 888poker has decided to terminate its relationship with Luis Suarez with immediate effect." Gibraltar-based 888 had said Wednesday it was "reviewing" its relationship with Suarez, who had been an ambassador for the firm, and warned that "we will not tolerate unsporting behaviour".
Their action in ditching the 27-year-old Suarez follows the decision of sports manufacturer Adidas to stop using the player in their World Cup advertising campaign.
But Mariana Ramos, Adidas spokeswoman in Sao Paulo, stopped short of saying the company would axe Suarez from its global roster of star sporting figures completely, telling AFP: "Future plans for after the World Cup will be revised once the tournament is over." Meanwhile Liverpool said they would make no immediate decision on Suarez's Anfield future.
"Liverpool Football Club will wait until we have seen and had time to review the FIFA Disciplinary Committee report before making any further comment," Ian Ayre, the club's chief executive, said Thursday.
Suarez was suspended for biting for seven matches while at Dutch giants Ajax in 2010 and 10 matches last year, a penalty that carried over into the start of the recent English season, for an attack on Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.
Before the start of last season, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers made huge efforts to persuade Suarez to stay at Anfield amid talk of a proposed move to Premier League rivals Arsenal or to a Spanish side.
Rodgers was rewarded with a stunning season from Suarez, whose 31 goals in 33 matches made him the Premier League's top scorer and so nearly saw Liverpool crowned champions of England for the first time in 24 years.
But with Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid said to be interested in Suarez, if Liverpool do decide to end his Anfield career it is highly unlikely they will let him leave Merseyside without first trying to recoup a hefty transfer fee.
Uruguay football officials said they planned to appeal against Suarez's ban.