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June 27, 2017

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Suarez apologizes to Chiellini for Cup bite

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay -- Disgraced Uruguay striker Luis Suarez apologized Monday to Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini for the bite that saw him banned for four months and expelled from the World Cup.

Suarez acknowledged for the first time that the Italian was bitten. "I deeply regret what occurred," said the 27-year-old Liverpool striker.

"I apologize to Giorgio Chiellini and the entire football family," said a statement on Suarez's official Twitter account.

"I vow to the public there will never again be another incident like" it, he added.

Chiellini reacted quickly to Suarez's apology. "It's all forgotten. I hope FIFA will reduce your suspension," he tweeted.

Suarez bit Chiellini during Uruguay's 1-0 win over Italy on June 24 which took the South Americans into the World Cup last 16. They were beaten by Colombia on Sunday.

The prolific striker initially denied the charges against him. He told a FIFA disciplinary commission that he had lost his balance and there was no bite.

But within 48 hours of the incident, Suarez was handed a four month ban from all soccer activities, suspended from nine internationals and fined 100,000 Swiss francs (US$112,000). It was the third time in his career he had been guilty of biting an opponent.

He returned on Friday to Uruguay where the sanction has caused national outrage. President Jose Mujica slammed FIFA leaders as "sons of bitches" for imposing the sanction.

But Suarez said: "After several days of being home with my family, I have had the opportunity to regain my calm and reflect about the reality of what occurred during the Italy-Uruguay match on June 24, 2014.

He said there had been "contradicting declarations" of the events but that he had no "intention of interfering with the good performance of my national team.

"The truth is that my colleague Giorgio Chiellini suffered the physical result of a bite in the collision he suffered with me. For this:

"I deeply regret what occurred.

"I apologize to Giorgio Chiellini and the entire football family.

"I vow to the public that there will never again be another incident like."

Despite Suarez's denials, the disciplinary commission gave a damning assessment of Suarez's actions in its final report, which was leaked to various media.

It said "the offence was carried out directly against an opposing player, while the ball was not being disputed, and it was done deliberately, intentionally and without provocation."

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