Luis Suarez Bite: FIFA Rules and How World Cup Incident Might Affect Liverpool

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2014

Uruguay's Luis Suarez walks with his hands on his head during the group D World Cup soccer match between Italy and Uruguay at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Hassan Ammar/Associated Press

Luis Suarez's decision to bite Giorgio Chiellini is likely to hold major ramifications for Uruguay's World Cup hopes, but in the aftermath of this incident, Liverpool could also find themselves suffering under the weight of their striker's punishment.

FIFA revealed disciplinary proceedings against Suarez have been opened "following an apparent breach of art. 48 and/or art. 57" in the governing body's rulebook. These amount to misconduct and offensive behaviour charges, per FIFA's Disciplinary Code.

Ben Rumsby of the Telegraph highlights the maximum charge for such an offence:

Instead of a two-year ban, FIFA could opt to instead ban Suarez for 24 matches at international level, reported in Article 19 of FIFA's code and noted by talkSPORT.

However, Spanish media outlet AS claims FIFA will take a much lighter view of the incident:

The real question for Liverpool fans, though, is the following: Can Suarez be banned from domestic and Champions League matters?

Hassan Ammar/Associated Press

In short, the answer is yes. FIFA states "serious" infringements can see punishments implemented outside of the competition the offence occurred in. For this to happen, "other organising sports bodies shall request FIFA to extend the sanctions they have imposed so as to have worldwide effect," per Article 136 of the code.

One of the relevant organisations—UEFA for example—would need to make this request for a ban to take place outside of the international realm. FIFA would then hold the power to implement the punishment.

While FIFA rules indicate the governing body would wait for such a request before banning Suarez from non-FIFA competition, it is likely either the European or national bodies will follow any sanctions imposed by the world football leaders.

In this respect, it is possible UEFA could take action while the FA does not, requesting the removal of Suarez from Champions League action but letting him represent Liverpool in the Premier League. The reverse scenario is also possible.

Petr David Josek/Associated Press

If one of the associations doesn't make an appeal for FIFA to implement its decision outside of internationals, Article 136 says judicial bodies of FIFA "may themselves pass a decision," indicating that FIFA can extend the ban worldwide of its own accord.

So, to summarise, FIFA is only likely to apply full measures on a global scale if requested to do so. Should this happen, Suarez would be charged after "he has had the opportunity to state his case," per Article 137.

Ultimately, FIFA's verdict has the opportunity to set precedent here. Suarez certainly can be banned from all matches if deemed necessary, meaning the 27-year-old's future remains difficult to judge while a decision is made.