Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina has slammed Luis Suarez's 10-game ban as 'absurd' and claimed that his team-mate is the victim of a witch-hunt.
An FA disciplinary committee ruled on Wednesday that the striker's bite on Branislav Ivanovic warranted a punishment far more severe than the automatic three-match suspension for violent conduct.
But Reina believes Suarez, who has until noon on Friday to appeal against the additional seven-match ban, has been singled out because of his nationality and past misdemeanours.
"I consider myself a friend of Luis," Reina told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope.
"People in England are treating him different because he is Uruguayan; because he has had a previous episode like this.
"He knows perfectly well that what he did was wrong but a 10-game ban seems to me absurd, out of proportion and unfair. It seems that the people making the decisions have got it in for Luis a little bit.
"I know Luis and I know that he is the complete opposite (off the pitch): he is a magnificent person and great team-mate. But because of the way he plays, he is aggressive and very competitive, he plays like a street player and sometimes the way he is gets him into trouble.
"There is a lot of hypocrisy. Some players are treated differently to others. In the racism cases: the one with proof got a four-game ban and Luis got eight matches."
Asked if he felt there was xenophobia in England, he added: "No, but there is hypocrisy - a different measure is used."
Suarez was banned for seven games in 2010 when he bit an opponent while playing for Ajax.
He received an eight-game suspension last season after he was found guilty of abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra. Chelsea's John Terry was later banned for four games after an FA independent panel found him guilty of racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand.
Is the decision to ban Luis Suarez for ten games...?