Much has been said and written about the recent Luiz Suarez case. Many of us will have seen the bizarre pictures of him biting Chelsea Defender Branislav Ivanovic during the 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Sunday 21st April 2013.
Awful as it was to see, I think the words ‘baffling’, ‘bizarre’ and ‘why oh why oh why?’ spring to mind more than horrified. For that and other reasons I shall outline I think the 10 match ban handed out and accepted by the Liverpool Biter, sorry, Striker was disproportionate to the incident and like many tackles we see these days, was way over the top.
Yes it was violent conduct, but no mark was left on Ivanovic and therefore, as far as we know, no actual bodily harm was caused. We have to assume that even the Referee saw no injury that merited even a yellow card caution for Suarez. The potential was there of course, for instance if he had AIDS or other disease that could have been transmitted through his bite, but if that were the case then a 10 match ban would have been in order and the least of his worries, as doubtless Ivanovic would be taking legal action against him that could have resulted in the loss of his liberty, never mind his liberty to play football.
If the incident had been seen by the referee the least he would likely have given is a yellow card, possibly a straight red, for “violent conduct.” That means an automatic 3 match ban. I can’t therefore see how this has now resulted in a 10 match ban. The panel will have had to take into consideration his past record, any current warnings and approach taken for similar cases to ensure consistency and fairness.
He served an 8 match ban last year for racist comments made against Manchester United Defender Patrice Evra and has had a number of other allegations made against him. Not to mention he has previous for biting, receiving a 7 match ban for biting an opponent in the Dutch League whilst playing for Ajax. Despite the name, he clearly still hasn’t cleaned up his game or attitude.
In terms of consistency, there’s an absence of that. Jermaine Defoe bit Javier Mascherano of West Ham (now at Barcelona) way back in October 2006 and just got a yellow card.
I think taking all of that into account, in particular the current warning for conduct, an additional 2 match ban would have sufficed, totalling a 5 match ban. Would that have been justice in your view or do you think the FA got it right with a 10 match ban?
There is a lot worse going on these days such as two footed, potentially leg breaking, career ending tackles which need dealing with a greater consistency of approach. For me, such tackles frequently elicit too wide a range of arbitrary decisions – either no booking at all, or a yellow or red card. Rarely anything more than a 3 match ban is given. So how an inconsequential bite can have such a draconian consequence beggars belief really. If I was Suarez, I would have appealed. Of course, it goes without saying I wouldn’t have done it in the first place I’d eat before the match not during it! Besides there are, some might say, tastier players to bite into anyway!
@Tiemo Talk of the Town