Uruguay's incensed President Jose Mujica has lambasted FIFA bosses as "sons of bitches" who meted out "fascist" treatment to striker Luis Suarez for biting an Italian defender at the World Cup.
Mujica has led national outrage at the world governing body's sanctioning of Suarez who received a nine-match ban from playing for Uruguay and a four-month prohibition from all football-related activity for biting Giorgio Chiellini. "At FIFA, they are a bunch of old sons of bitches," the 79-year-old president said when meeting the Uruguay team off the plane from Brazil on Sunday afternoon.
"They could have punished (him), but not with fascist sanctions," added Mujica, an always colourful character and former leftist guerrilla who has a cult following in some quarters due to his blunt language and humble style of life. The video was all over Uruguay media on Monday.
Realizing he was being filmed at the airport, Mujica jokingly covered his mouth before saying: "Publish it". His wife, Lucia Topolansky, added her agreement.
Uruguay's national football association is appealing the punishment against Suarez, who was also fined 100,000 Swiss francs ($112,000) and will miss the start of the Premier League season with Liverpool unless his appeal works. A brilliant but temperamental player, Suarez has kept a low profile since returning to Uruguay, with just one public message to thank compatriots and fans for their support.
(Reporting by Malena Castaldi in Montevideo, Andrew Cawthorne in Belo Horizonte; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; editing by Justin Palmer)