LONDON, June 27 (Reuters) - Poker brand 888 has cancelled its sponsorship deal with Luis Suarez after the Uruguay striker was banned from all soccer-related activity for four months for biting an opponent during a World Cup match.
Suarez, one of the most talented but controversial players, lit up the English Premier League last season with club side Liverpool and became one of the online gambling company’s brand ambassadors only last month.
“888poker signed Luis Suarez following a fantastic season for which his achievements were widely recognised,” it said on Friday.
“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,” it said in a brief statement.
Suarez was hit with the longest ban ever imposed at a World Cup on Thursday by soccer’s governing body FIFA.
He had clashed with Giorgio Chiellini in the final minutes of Uruguay’s last Group D match against Italy, shortly before the South American champions scored to seal a 1-0 win and knock Italy out of the tournament.
The Italian defender pulled down his collar to show the mark on his shoulder to the referee, who took no action. Reuters photographs showed what FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee accepted were bite marks. (Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by John O‘Brien)