Uruguay President slams "fascist" sanctions
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 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.
Meanwhile, Barcelona claim they have the financial power to lure Suarez to the Nou Camp this summer.
Despite being sent home from the World Cup in disgrace, Suarez has been touted as the club's prime transfer target this summer and could cost up to £85m.
Barca have already spent €42m (£33.6m) on capturing midfielder Ivan Rakitic from Sevilla and goalkeepers Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and Claudio Bravo from Borussia Monchengladbach and Real Sociedad respectively, but pocketed around £30m in the sale of Cesc Fabregas to Chelsea.
The club's economic vice president Javier Faus insists there is plenty more money to buy whoever coach Luis Enrique wants.
Speaking at the announcement of a sponsorship deal between the club and appliances company Beko, Faus explained the club's finances were in rude health.
"In the last three years Barca have been earning money and reducing their debt at a large rate and are stronger financially," he said.
"We can realise all the sporting challenges and signings our coaches and sporting director want."
Barcelona are reported to be in negotiations with Liverpool for Suarez, with Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez as a possible makeweight in the transfer.
If the transfer is completed, Barca would be able to field a potentially terrifying front three of the Uruguayan, Lionel Messi and Neymar.
However, the club are also expected to sign a central defender, with long-standing captain Carles Puyol hanging up his boots at the end of last season.