Luis Suarez has been suspended by FIFA for nine matches and four months with no soccer activities in addition to a fine.
The punishment comes in reaction to Suarez biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini. This is Suarez’s third biting incident and as such I personally feel this punishment is inadequate.
For Suarez’s second bite attack against Chelsea’s Bratislav Ivanovic, he received a ten game ban from the FA. So in terms of international matches banned, his punishment this time around is less than the last time. In regards to those international matches, the ban really amounts to just this World Cup. Uruguay will have plenty of time to qualify for the 2018 World Cup with Suarez on the roster after this ban is lifted. Yes, Suarez will miss the Copa America, but it would not take much for Uruguay to schedule in a few more sanctioned matches should they feel the need to have Suarez back earlier than their current schedule would allow.
Suarez’s comments after the match, where he said that things happen on the pitch and we shouldn’t make such a big deal about it, indicate that he does not feel any remorse and probably does not even think he did anything wrong. Is this punishment going to be a deterrent against future biting? I highly doubt it. Which makes me wonder, what is the point?
If this was Suarez’s first infraction, I could understand being lenient but it is clear that Suarez will take a personal punishment if he feels it will help his team advance (or if he gets hungry,I don’t know what prompts someone to bite another human). FIFA should not stand for that. Rules are not put in place for players to judge whether they are willing to accept consequences for poor behavior. They are in place to govern how the game is to be played and to show what is not acceptable. Biting is not acceptable!
Uruguay will certainly struggle to advance without Suarez but the looming match up with Colombia was going to be difficult to win even with the star striker. Which brings me back again to what message is FIFA trying to send here?
Perhaps FIFA does not view biting to be any more egregious than an elbow to the groin or a spikes up tackle. Maybe that is a debate that needs to be had, but I would still maintain a third time offender should be punished more heavily than this. Suarez is a world top five striker, the fine is not going to be overwhelming to him (rumored at 100,000 Swiss francs). Most likely only missing one game in this World Cup and being back in plenty of time to help Uruguay qualify for the next World Cup just feels weak.
A ban from all World Cups would probably have been more appropriate.