Thursday, June 26, 2014

Why FIFA must set an example of Luis Suarez?

That dreaded teeth strikes again. One more defender surrenders. Social media starts trolling. It’s funny in a way, if you are just an observer of the game. But it’s really sad if you truly love the sport. The sport in question is Football. The event is FIFA World Cup 2014. And the player, who else but, Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz.

Here’s a small trivia – What’s common between Otman Bakkal, Ivanovic and Giorgio Chiellini? All have been on the receiving end of Suarez’s tooth!

Let's get one thing out of the way - There’s no questioning Suarez’ raw talent. This guy is simply unbelievable when on the ball and even when he’s making those timely runs behind the defense. His brace won Uruguay a much needed win to stay in the hunt and inadvertently knocked England out of the World Cup. In the final group game against Italy (which was also a must win game for Uruguay), Suarez made his presence felt. But not the way any footballer would be proud of. During the 2nd half, he allegedly bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini on his shoulder. The video evidence almost proves the incident and Chiellini’s shoulder is clearly an evidence in itself. Now either Chiellini had the bite-mark before playing the game and just exposed it to “red-card” Suarez (unlikely) or it was Suarez who did the needful (likely).

What Chiellini felt?

Oops, that must have hurt
What Suarez felt?
How was he hurt from all of this? Did his teeth accidentally touch Chiellini’s collar bone? Actually, Chiellini reacted by hitting his elbow.

What Suarez said? "There are things that happen on the pitch and you should not make such a big deal out of them".

It’s obvious that Suarez wants to play down the incident. But the Italians won’t agree. Nor will the media who will use this opportunity to strike gold for atleast a month thanks to the ad revenue from their articles. But from a sporting perspective, the incident is total unwarranted. The passion for the game is understandable and the desire to win has made him one of the best in the business. He’s easily part of the top 5 players out there and dare I say, almost along the same level as Ronaldo and Messi.

FIFA announced that "that disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the player Luis Suarez of Uruguay following an apparent breach of art. 48 and/or art. 57 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil match Italy-Uruguay played on 24 June 2014. The player and/or the Uruguayan FA are invited to provide with their position and any documentary evidence they deem relevant until 25 June 2014, 5pm, Brasilia time.” This means they will be announcing their decision before Uruguay plays their round of 16 match against Columbia. When Suarez did it the first time, he was banned for 7 games. When he did it for the second time, the ban increased to 10 matches. Logically, this time the ban should be much more severe. Since this is a repeat offense, I personally feel Suarez should be banned from playing internationals and / or club matches for a minimum of 6 months / 1 year. If ban of 10 matches didn’t teach him a lesson, then surely he needs more. FIFA needs to give him something to chew on (sorry: pun intended). This will not only be a  lesson to Suarez to mend his ways, but will also set an example to the rest of the footballers and more importantly, the budding young ones that dissent will have zero tolerance in Football. You mess up, you will have to clean up the mess. 

Football is a wonderful sport with some genuine top-class talent. Luis Suarez is one of them. Liverpool loves him. The world respects and adores his talent. He should ideally be one of the brand ambassadors of the game. But alas, something was just not meant to happen. Luis Suarez” and “legend” may not be used in the same sentence for the foreseeable future.

PS: I am a huge fan of Luis Suarez. Who isn't? But these incidents need to be responded to, especially when they are repeated. Game should always be bigger than the player.

Update: Luis Suarez has been banned for 9 international matches - which means he wont be participating in the ongoing world cup for Uruguay. He is also banned for 4 months of all Footballing activities - which means he won't play for his club till the last week of October. FIFA has clarified that there is no transfer ban on him. Uruguay FA will challenge the ban.

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