Luis Suarez has been banned for eight games by the FA, pending the result of any appeal he may make. An independent regulatory committee has decided on the eight-match ban after a hearing into an incident.
The Liverpool striker was found guilty of using abusive language towards Patrice Evra, including making references to his race, religion or color. The eight-game ban, pending any appeal, is a great move by the FA.
With racism creeping back into the game, this ban is completely legitimate. It is the responsibility of the FA is to ensure racism is not allowed to get a grip on the game.
The ban is not just a message to Suarez himself; it is a message to all of English football.
Racism was a part of football in the past, and it was not acceptable then, so why should it be acceptable now? With players banned for three, maybe four, games for a badly timed tackle, a ban of eight games for racially abusing a fellow professional is completely legitimate.
The FA is committed to ensuring racism is not allowed to get back into the game. Part of their role is to remove any barriers to participation in football. One of those barriers is racism. Allowing a player to get away with something as serious as racially abusing another player is not something the FA will stand for.
Making a stand against players at the highest level helps make it possible for the FA to make a stand at grassroots level. A serious ban for Suarez sends a message to everyone, even youngsters. The same needs to happen to John Terry if he is found guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
With Suarez being proven guilty, is an eight game ban enough?
The FA took responsibility for cleaning up football. It has, and the Premier League needs to keep it clean. This ban for Suarez helps make sure racism is not allowed back into the game.
The ban will rule Suarez out of some key Liverpool fixtures, and has been met with some disappointment by Liverpool, and Suarez himself. Liverpool said it is surprised and disappointed by the decision.
Even this is out of order from Liverpool, and the club itself should face some action. Suarez has been found guilty by an independent body after a two-day hearing. Liverpool has been defending its player for an alleged incident until now.
But the incident has been proven. Suarez has been found guilty of acting in a racist manner toward another player. Liverpool is no longer defending a player who has been accused, it is defending a player who is guilty.
Liverpool is defending racism. Suarez is guilty, and his eight-game ban is completely legitimate.