• Downing Street calls for example to be made of striker
• Striker condemned for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic
Downing Street has called on the Football Association to make an example of Luis Suárez after he was charged with violent conduct for biting Branislav Ivanovic and Liverpool declared their leading striker would not be sold as a result of his latest indiscretion.
The FA cleared the way for Suárez to receive a substantial suspension after confirming the referee Kevin Friend missed Sunday's shocking incident at Anfield and the ruling body said an automatic three-match ban for violent conduct would be "clearly insufficient". Support for an increased punishment arrived from an unlikely source when a spokesman for David Cameron entered the debate over Suárez's conduct.
"It is rightly a matter for the football authorities to consider," said the prime minister's spokesman. "As part of their consideration, I think it would be very understandable if they took into account the fact that high-profile players are often role models."
Contrary to claims from Suárez, Ivanovic has not accepted an apology for having his arm bitten during the 2-2 draw at Anfield. The striker's sponsor, Adidas, has taken the unusual step of criticising its own client, while Liverpool fined the Uruguay international an undisclosed sum on Monday morning, which Suárez asked to be donated to the Hillsborough Family Support Group. The Professional Footballers' Association has also offered anger management counselling. Suárez's nomination for the PFA player of the year award will not be withdrawn, however.
The FA is to appoint a three-man independent commission to consider Suárez's violent conduct charge on Wednesday . The panel, comprising a chairman, a former footballer and an FA council member, all of whom are independent of the two clubs involved, will have the power to impose an extended suspension on the 26-year-old. Suárez received an eight-match ban plus a £40,000 fine for using racially abusive language towards Patrice Evra last season and the commission can take his past conduct into account when deciding its verdict.
In a statement, the FA confirmed: "The incident was not seen by the match officials and has therefore been retrospectively reviewed. It is alleged that the conduct of Suárez constitutes violent conduct and it is the FA's contention that the standard punishment of three matches that would otherwise apply is clearly insufficient in these circumstances. Suárez has until 6pm on Tuesday 23 April to respond to the charge, thereafter an independent regulatory commission will be convened this Wednesday, 24 April."
Suárez is unlikely to face any police action for biting the Serbia defender, despite a Metropolitan police officer examining Ivanovic on his return to Chelsea's Cobham training ground on Sunday night. A spokesman for Merseyside police, who began the investigation, said last night: "Merseyside police can confirm that following an incident at the Liverpool v Chelsea game officers have spoken to Branislav Ivanovic in person. He had no apparent physical injuries and did not wish to make a complaint. This is now a matter for the Football Association."
Having publicly condemned and fined the leading goalscorer, Liverpool's managing director, Ian Ayre, insisted Suárez would not be sold. Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, warned the Uruguay international that no player is irreplaceable on Sunday and insisted the club would uphold its "values and ethics".
But Ayre, who has been in close contact with the principal owner, John W Henry, and chairman, Tom Werner, in Boston since the controversy erupted, stated Liverpool's stance on the £22.8m signing from Ajax had not altered. Asked if the bite would have any bearing on Suárez's Liverpool future, Ayre said: "Not at all. It affects his future in the sense that we have to work with him on his discipline but Luis is a very important player to the club. He's a very popular player with his team-mates. As we keep saying, he signed a new four-year contract last summer and we'd all love to see him here throughout that contract. He's a fantastic player, top scorer and everything we'd want in a striker, so there's no change there. This is more about getting him back on the right track and it's largely down to Brendan now to work with him on that side of his character."