Jara cops 3-game ban for vulgar act

SANTIAGO - Chile defender Gonzalo Jara was thrown out of the Copa America on Sunday over his attempt to shove his finger into the backside of Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani, the Chilean Football Federation confirmed.

A statement said the 29-year-old had been suspended for three matches following a disciplinary hearing by South American football's ruling body Conmebol into the lurid flashpoint during last week's quarter-final.

"We regret this sanction but we will accept it," the federation added on its website.

The ban rules Jara out of Chile's semi-final with Peru this morning (Singapore time) as well as the final if the hosts progress.

However, Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli criticised the suspension on Sunday, saying it set a dangerous precedent.

"If people start getting suspended on the basis of allegations from one side, then everyone will start trying to do it," he said.

Jara triggered a wave of revulsion and condemnation over his bizarre assault on Cavani, who was sent off for retaliating as a result.

Reverse-angle television footage and photos of the incident showed him appearing to jab a finger into Cavani's backside.

It was the latest controversial incident involving Jara and an Uruguayan opponent.

In 2013, striker Luis Suarez punched him after the Chilean appeared to grab his testicles during a World Cup qualifier.

Jara's suspension gives Sampaoli a major headache, meaning he will have to field a relatively untested central defensive partnership against Peru in Santiago.

Peru coach Ricardo Gareca played down the significance of Jara's absence, however.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 30, 2015, with the headline 'Jara cops 3-game ban for vulgar act'. Print Edition | Subscribe