Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has slammed the Football Association for prejudicing the hearing that resulted in a 10-match ban for Luis Suarez.
Reds striker Suarez was hit with the suspension on Thursday after biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic during Monday's 2-2 draw at Anfield.
The Uruguay international will miss the rest of this season and the first six games of next season and it has been reported that Suarez is now considering whether to quit English soccer in protest.
Faced with the possibility of losing his star forward, who has scored 30 times for Liverpool this season, Rodgers yesterday turned his fire on the FA.
He was infuriated not only by the independent panel's ruling, but also the FA's decision to state prior to the hearing that the statutory three-match suspension for violent conduct would be "insufficient".
"We need to understand what an independent panel is," Rodgers said.
"If you are an independent panel and yet the day beforehand the FA come out and say he will serve more than three games it is not independent because they are already putting pressure on the sanction."
Claiming that Suarez has been victimised due to his controversial personality, Rodgers referred to the 2006 cases of Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe, who escaped with just a booking for biting West Ham's Javier Mascherano and Chester's Sean Hessey, who was banned for five matches for a bite on Stockport's Liam Dickinson.
"For him to receive that [10-match ban], when the comparisons of the similar incidents is somewhat different, then that is what is hard to take."
This despite the 26-year-old having previously had a seven-game ban in Holland for biting PSV midfielder Otman Bakkal while playing for Ajax and an eight-match suspension last season for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.
Rodgers added: "I felt it could have been 12 games but with a six-game ban and six games suspended, looking at his future behaviour.
"I can't help but look at it and look at the sanction which has been put on Luis and I honestly feel the punishment has been against the man rather than the incident."