For those of you that don’t know (and there really cannot be many of you), Uruguay played Italy in a must win group stage on Tuesday, a game that eventually saw the South American side win one-nil to earn a place in the last 16. However, the only talking point of the match was, of course, Luis Suarez deciding to sink his teeth into Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini. Despite an angered Chiellini showing the bite marks to the referee, Suarez was not punished for his actions during the game.
This is a good thing, because it means FIFA as a governing body can fully utilise their laws to investigate and punish Suarez, which they may not have been able to do if the referee saw the incident and acted upon it. The ultimate factor is that this is the third time that Suarez has bitten someone on a Football pitch. If he was a dog in the UK, he would be put down.
He first bit Otman Bakkal while he was Dutch Ajax’s captain in 2010, then we all remember when he had a chomp of Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in 2013 and now again just a couple of days ago. In between this he was found to have racially abused Patrice Evra during a game against Manchester United in 2011.
For me, I would give him a lifetime ban from professional Football. It’s simply one too many times that he has done something so outrageously awful that his career has to be finished. If I were to walk into the office tomorrow morning and bite someone, I would lose my job and have a police investigation. If that happened to be the third time I did it, I would be in some serious trouble. The same should apply to football players who should realise that they represent role models for young children, who are taught not to do exactly what Suarez did.
If you remember, Suarez served a ten game ban for biting Evra in 2013, which meant that he missed eight games of the season just gone. Despite that he had his most rewarding year as a Liverpool player; taking his side to 2nd, finishing top scorer and collecting all the individual awards. There were rumours of a big money move to a wealthy giant, I was hearing Barcelona, but Liverpool and he were clearly on the up from the Evra incident.
But because he has served an eight game ban, this next punishment simply has to be more severe. There is talk of an international ban, there is also talk of a two year ban from all football. But the thing is, FIFA are looking very weak lately regarding the coming presidential elections, Sepp Blatter wanting to run again, and UEFA talking very aggressively against Sepp doing so.
FIFA now have an opportunity to look strong and resilient; an organisation with the power to enforce rules, ensure safety and guarantee professional, sportsmanlike behaviour. If they metaphorically slap Suarez on the wrist, it will be clear as day how weak a governing body they are, because they rely on their superstars. But if they come out furiously strong and overwhelming with ridicule and punishment, it might send a better message about their current situation.
Although I am as anti-Blatter as can be (for a future article), I want to see the full force of punishment fall on the piece of filth that brings a sickening presence to the great game of ours.