Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A lifetime ban on Luis Suárez is the only penalty

Those of us who follow sport closely are rarely surprised by dysfunctional sporting behaviour. There is hardly a sport, certainly a professional one, where cheating, abuse, gamesmanship and other excesses don't rear their heads from time to time. And some sportsmen (its usually men) seem particularly prone to misbehaviour. But nothing, absolutely nothing, can compare with the Uruguay and Liverpool striker Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz .

On the pitch Suárez is part genius and part villain. Not a warm and cuddly villain either – the flawed genius who sometimes misbehaves. This is a man who does things that even the worst offenders over the years would never have done. When he dives (and he dives!) it is with a cheat’s insouciance . When he fouls another player it is the same. Yellow and Red cards galore. Other players do this of course but not many also indulge in racial abuse of another player (as Suárez did with Patrice Evra for which he was banned for eight games). And none has been banned (for ten games) for biting an opponent as Suárez was after he attacked the Chelsea player Branislav Ivanovic. Astonishingly Suárez had previous as a biter – when he was with the Dutch team Ajax he bit PSV's Otman Bakkal on the shoulder an offence for which he was banned for seven games. And now he's done it again. The bite on Giorgio Chiellini of Italy was blatant assault. No excuses can be made – certainly not by or for a man who has twice been banned for similar offences. That is was perpetrated on the large stage of the Football World Cup means that there is nobody in the world of football can now doubt (if they did before) that Luis Suárez , talented footballer though he is, has no place in the game. A lifetime ban is the only penalty that can be applied – and if the Brazilian authorities charge Suárez with assault as well that would only be justice and what he deserves.


No comments: