Luis Suarez Punishment for Biting Incident Was Firm but Fair
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Let me get one thing absolutely clear.
I am generally not a fan of the Football Association and their disciplinary panel. I was absolutely disgusted with Callum McManaman's tackle on Massadio Haidara that went unpunished, both by the referee and by the powers that be after the game.
However, they got the punishment procedure absolutely spot on in the case of Luis Suarez. When I heard the rumours last Sunday, that Suarez had attempted to take a chunk out of the bicep of Branislav Ivanovic, I didn't believe it.
He had committed a similar offence when playing for Ajax a couple of years before and had been heavily punished. Surely he wouldn't be stupid enough to make the same mistake twice?
How wrong I was.
The evidence was clear. With Liverpool trying to get back into the game that they were losing against Chelsea, the ball came out to the right hand side. As the Liverpool players set themselves to cross, Luis Suarez tried to find a pocket of space in the box, like he does so successfully on a regular basis. Finding himself blocked by the substantial frame, instead of trying to wriggle free, he grabbed hold of the defender and attempted to bite him before they both collapsed on the floor with the Chelsea defender looking visibly shocked at what had just happened.
Should Luis Suarez have received more than the 10-game ban he got?
The most amusing thing about the whole saga is that when Suarez picks himself up, he is looking pleadingly at the referee in the hope of winning his side a penalty.
What was even more galling for Chelsea and Rafael Benitez was Suarez going onto equalise deep into injury time and deny Chelsea a crucial three points in the race for the Champions League places.
After the match and in the following days, talk was all about just how heavily Suarez would be punished. In normal circumstances he could have expected a three game ban but it was inevitable that it would be longer.
My own personal opinion was that it had to be longer than the ban he received for committing the same offence while playing in Holland. He was given a seven game ban but clearly hadn't learned his lesson. Therefore a ten game ban was fair. For it to be a real punishment for both Suarez and his club the ban needed to stretch into next season. Liverpool have nothing left to play for this season and to give him a three or four game ban would have just been an early summer holiday.
The real problem here is Luis Suarez. He is undoubtedly one of the most talented footballers in the world. Right up there in the group behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. However, at the moment he is missing too many game through suspensions of his own making.
Liverpool will not want to sell just yet, but every club has a breaking point no matter how great the player. One more indiscretion like this and Suarez will find the world of football turning its back on him for good.
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