Luis Suarez has today been banned for 10 matches by the F.A for biting Branislav Ivanovic in Liverpool's 2-2 draw with Chelsea last Sunday. A clear message to all Premier League players that behaviour of this kind is not acceptable on the football pitch. Well apparently not anymore.
Let me be clear, I do not condone in anyway what Suarez did and for that matter biting of any kind. Its slightly barbaric. However I feel like although punishment is indeed justified, the F.A have over stepped their mark with the severity of action shown. Especially considering the complete lack of action taken when faced with the exact same scenario just seven years ago.
Jermaine Defoe, Tottenhams forward was caught biting the arm of Javier Mascherano back in a game involving West Ham in 2006. Although Mascherano complained to the referee and urged post match action to be taken, due to a yellow card being brandished the FA were 'Bound by FIFA's rules on retrospective punishment' and therefore Jermaine was free to play in Tottenham's next game. However as we found out with the Suarez incident, in exceptional cases exceptions can be made.
In fact in that very season an exception was made in the case of Ben Thatchers forearm smash on Pedro Mendez which caused severe injury. In that case Thatcher was given an eight match ban. Two games less than Suarez. Yes you read that right. The hospitalisation of a fellow professional was punished less severely than a bite. This season has also had its fair share of horror challenges. No more so than Callum Mcmanaman's challenge on Newcastle defender Haidara. "Yes but that was an accident" you might say. Okay then well how about Sergio Aguero's dropkick style attack on David Luiz just a few short weeks ago? No yellow, no red and no punishment.
Of course Suarez is a multiple offender now. His racism row with Patrice Evra and his admission of diving has put him in the category marked 'Wronguns' by the F.A. So is this the reason why the punishment is so harsh? Well according to the F.A guidelines it can't be.
"The FA, in all its activities, will not discriminate, or in any way treat anyone less favourably, on grounds of gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, race, nationality, ethnic origin, colour, religion or belief, ability or disability".
Unfortunately the FA seem to have made an exception of this rule for Mr. Suarez. The fact is he has been characterised as the bad guy, and for the sake of making a statement the 'bad guy' must be punished. Not only punished, but punished more than any other player would be. We've already seen this when we compare his racism ban (eight matches) with John Terrys racism ban (four matches). Two similar incidents, two very different results.
I guess the upside of this is Luis can think long and hard about the apology he apparently owes Branislav even if they did seem quite pally after the match.
The bad news is the best player in the league will be on the side lines for far longer than he deserves. Next time Luis just break someone's leg, you'll be back in action a hell of alot quicker.
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