BERLIN – German sportswear maker Adidas said on Sunday that it would start using Uruguyan striker Luis Suarez again despite his four-month ban for biting a World Cup rival.
"We will continue to work with Luis Suarez," Adidas boss Herbert Hainer told the SID sports news agency, an AFP subsidiary. "But we will talk with him and his management about what we expect of him on and off the pitch." Hainer called Suarez "one of the best strikers in the world."
"It's not for nothing that FC Barcelona put him under contract," he said. "But his behaviour in the match against Italy was not acceptable. That is why the FIFA penalty is justified and you can't sugarcoat that or tolerate it." But Haider noted "how much pressure the players in such a World Cup are under".
"Furthermore, he apologised," he said, justifying the company's decision. Adidas had in late June announced that it would stop using Suarez in its adverts following FIFA's levelling of a four-month ban from football activities against Suarez for biting Italian Giorgio Chiellini. FIFA banned Suarez for nine internationals and from football for four months and also fined him 100,000 Swiss francs ($112,000).
As well as being a major FIFA sponsor for almost four decades, the German company is a personal sponsor of Suarez. Suarez served bans of seven and 10 matches for biting after an incident while playing for Ajax in 2010 and Liverpool last year. On Friday, he agreed a move from Liverpool to Barcelon that British media said was worth £75 million ($128m , EUR95 million).