By Leigh Teschner
FIFA has set a precedent after announcing a nine-game ban and a four month suspension on Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez for his latest biting incident. The statement is loud and clear: Suarez's unusual behavior on the field will no longer be tolerated.
This is the third biting incident involving Suarez in four years. In 2010, the Uruguayan took his first bite on an opponent while playing for Ajax. Three years later, in 2013, Suarez did it again in a Premier League game between Liverpool and Chelsea.
One would assume the Uruguayan would've learned by now, but Suarez has done it again; this time with the entire world watching for what FIFA's disciplinary committee have decided to put a stop on Suarez.
There were ten minutes left in the group stage match between Italy and Uruguay when Suarez and Giorgio Chiellini locked arms inside the Italian box. To free himself from Chiellini, Suarez bit the Italian defender on the shoulder who hit him back with an elbow to the face.
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The Mexican referee, Marco Antonio Rodriguez, missed the action for what FIFA had to recourse to replays to make their decision. Chiellini showed the ref the bite marks on his shoulder repeatedly, but his effort to display the evidence was disregarded.
Still, FIFA have judged his violent behavior worthy of a four month suspension from any soccer related activity. The KNVB suspended Suarez 7 games in 2010, while the FA were a bit harsher in 2013 handing him a 10-game suspension.
Suarez will now embark on a four month journey to reflect on his behavior.
Here is the official press release from FIFA with details of the suspension imposed on Luis Suarez:
The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has reached a decision in the case related to Luis Suárez of Uruguay following an incident that occurred during the FIFA World Cup™ match between Italy and Uruguay played on 24 June 2014.
The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided that:
· The player Luis Suárez is regarded as having breached art. 48 par. 1 lit. d of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC) (assault), and art. 57 of the FDC (an act of unsporting behaviour towards another player).
· The player Luis Suárez is to be suspended for nine (9) official matches. The first match of this suspension is to be served in the upcoming FIFA World Cup™ fixture between Colombia and Uruguay on 28 June 2014. The remaining match suspensions shall be served in Uruguay’s next FIFA World Cup match(es), as long as the team qualifies, and/or in the representative team’s subsequent official matches in accordance with art. 38 par. 2a) of the FDC.
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· The player Luis Suárez is banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) for a period of four (4) months in accordance with art. 22 of the FDC.
· A stadium ban is pronounced against the player Luis Suárez in accordance with art. 21 of the FDC as follows: the player Luis Suárez is prohibited from entering the confines of any stadium during the period of the ban (point 3). The player Luis Suárez is prohibited from entering the confines of any stadium in which the representative team of Uruguay is playing while he has to serve the nine-match suspension (point 2).
· The player Luis Suárez is ordered to pay a fine in the amount of CHF 100,000 ($111,762 USD).
The decision was notified to the player and the Uruguayan FA today.
“Such behaviour cannot be tolerated on any football pitch, and in particular not at a FIFA World Cup when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field. The Disciplinary Committee took into account all the factors of the case and the degree of Mr Suárez’s guilt in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Code. The decision comes into force as soon it is communicated,” said Claudio Sulser, chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee.