Even with smoking gun, FIFA misses the mark on Suarez ban 0
Uruguay's national soccer team player Luis Suarez attends a news conference prior a training session at the Dunas Arena soccer stadium in Natal, June 23, 2014. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)
Rio de Janeiro— From a FIFA standpoint this is supposed to be a suspension that made a statement.
From Luis Suarez’s standpoint, he can consider himself lucky FIFA didn’t come down on him even harder than it did.
The forward from Uruguay had FIFA hammer come down on him. Soccer’s governing body ruled that Suarez did bite Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder during their final group game Tuesday.
Uruguay defeated Italy and will play Colombia in the knockout round on Saturday.
Suarez won’t be there. He was banned for four months from any football related activity, banned from entering any football stadium, doing administrative work related to football and fined approximately $120,000 for his transgression.
Anyone associated with Uruguay has pretty much lost their minds at news of the suspension. Suarez is their magic man and without their magic man, there’s a good chance their team will disappear.
It isn’t much of a surprise that they believe the suspension was far too severe. In fact, they believe their man is being targeted by everyone from the English media, the English fans, the Italian media, the Italian fans, FIFA, any nation bigger than Uruguay and just about any other soccer related enterprise. Left off the list was the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and partridge in a pear tree.
There were some rumblings they were threatening to go home, a threat that would be ignored because it would never happen.
The Uruguay FA will appeal but it won’t do them any good in this World Cup.
Suarez is fortunate his penalty wasn’t worse.
Most sports don’t take kindly to the kind of repeat offender that Suarez has become. In some cases, three-time offenders are suspended for a year or more. Depending on the offence, some sports suspend a repeat offender for life.
The idea that Suarez gets away with a 12-game ban for a third biting offence is ridiculous. Sure, he misses out on the World Cup but he should have thought of that before going carnivore on Chiellini.
There was a valuable lesson that FIFA could have delivered here. Instead it focused on only one aspect of the crime and missed an opportunity to teach an object lesson not only to Suarez but Uruguay’s football association as well.
It’s something called “showing remorse.”
From the moment Suarez sunk his teeth into Chiellini it became the news of the World Cup and Uruguay recognized the only way it could save their star player was to brazen it out.
Some soccer organizations are pitifully naïve. Even though the smoking gun is there for all the world to see, Uruguay denied, denied, denied. They not only stuck their head in the sand, they muddied the waters to the point where they accused everyone and everything of conspiring against them and Suarez.
Teams and individuals in other sports aren’t as obtuse. When their quasi-judicial governing bodies have smoking gun in had, and it’s the third time the gun has been used, the villains recognize the smart thing is to show remorse and contrition and throw themselves on the mercy of the court.
It usually works out better for them.
If Uruguay was involved in any other sport and had conducted itself the way it did after the bite, its man Suarez would need a two-year calendar to figure out when he would be back and the team would be going to get sacks of money from the bank to pay a substantial fine.
Thus FIFA’s missed opportunity for an object lesson.
Uruguay’s attempt to inflame the situation by claiming the bite and the subsequent investigation was all a sham orchestrated by evil empires brought the game into more disrepute than the bite itself.
Soccer is a sport that already has to battle an image that it’s wrought with corrupt individuals, cheaters and fakers. Uruguay’s Monty Python routine at diverting attention away from a man that has repeatedly brought the game into disrepute, is inexcusable.
In one way or another, its football association should have been publicly spanked for being outrageously stupid.
By the way, FIFA might have considered making some sort of psychological or anger management counselling a requirement for Suarez before allowing him to come back to play.
Uruguay and Suarez can chew on that.