Several hundred Uruguayans gathered at a Montevideo airfield in Uruguay Thursday night waiting on the expected return of striker Luis Suarez after his ban from the 2014 FIFA World Cup
Suarez of Liverpool FC was banned for nine matches and from all football-related activities for four months for biting biting Giorgio Chiellini during Tuesday’s Italy versus Uruguay match.
FIFA had on Thursday announced the ban, following the incident which preceded Uruguay’s 81st minute goal through Diego Godin in their 1-0 defeat of Italy in their final group D match.
But the fans were not to know that Suarez was not going to be around, until the Uruguayan Football Federation announced that the striker was still in Brazil.
The statement on the player’s non-availability, placed on the federation’s official twitter account, gave no explanation for why he had not left.
Uruguayan President Jose Mujica had been at the international airport at one point, but his office said he returned home because Suarez’s flight had been delayed.
After the report of the flight delay, the crowd of about 1,000 fans was moved from the airport’s terminal to an adjacent air force base to await Suarez’s arrival.
They waved the national flag and carried banners criticising the international football governing body FIFA for the suspension of Suarez.
Already, it is clear that Uruguay will be without their best player for their second round match against Colombia on Saturday.