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This won’t be a long piece about the rights and wrongs of Luis Suarez’s ten-game ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic during Liverpool’s thrilling 2-2 draw with Chelsea. It’s an open-and-shut case. The facts are as follows: Luis Suarez, a player with a poor disciplinary record, both in terms of yellows (ten this season) and other bans (racism, previous bites) is incontestably shown to have bitten a player on the field; the referee didn’t see it, and therefore the FA are obliged to act upon the evidence before them; having seen him bite Ivanovic, they are right to ban Suarez.
The length of the ban is causing some consternation among the footballing community, and the precedent is unclear. When Suarez bit Otman Bakkal while playing for Ajax in 2010, he received an uncontested seven-match ban. This seemed a fair punishment for a despicable incident. That same Suarez has now been banned for ten-games for near-identical incident. Given his record that hardly seems unfair.
There is one other precedent however, closer to how. In 2006, after a classic Javier Mascherano hack in midfield, the recipient, Jermaine Defoe turned around and bit him in retaliation. Both players received a yellow card. Many bloggers, writers, and fans have waved Defoe’s lack of punishment as proof that this yet another case of the FA picking on Suarez and Liverpool. Nonsense. Because of Defoe’s yellow card, and because of FIFA’s regulations which do not allow retrospective punishment where a referee has seen and dealt with the incident, he could not have received any further punishment. Suarez’s incident, perhaps unfortunately for him, was not seen by the referee, and so the FA dealt with it. The FA dealt the three-match ban, which they felt was insufficient, and it was in fact an independent regulatory commission which dished out the further seven.
All of this is without mentioning that Brendan Rodgers, Suarez’s manager, has already admitted that “[Suarez’s] behaviour is unacceptable”, and Suarez himself tweeted “I’ve spoken to Ivanovic on the phone and I could apologise directly to him, thanks for accepting”. Despite the apology, Suarez has shown himself to have very little anger management abilities in the past, and this incident is just another blot on his copybook which makes him that little bit harder to love, and easier to hate.
There is little else to say as far as I can see other than that I will be very surprised if Liverpool appeal, although they have said that they were “shocked and disappointed” at the length of the suspension.
Got a different view? Post below and James will happily respond to questions and comments