This column must start with Giorgio Chiellini’s reaction because he’s the latest victim of Luis Suarez’s on-field felony: “Suarez is a sneak and he gets away with it because Fifa want their stars to play in the World Cup. I’d love to see if they have the courage to use video evidence against him,” said the Italy centre-half after Suarez sank his teeth into his left shoulder during the World Cup Group D decider against Uruguay. He went on: “The referee saw the bite mark too, but he did nothing about it.”
A serial offender, Suarez doesn’t have the education or dignity for repentance. So it was not surprising that he described the whole bite-gate as “casual play”. He and his associates—from Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez to captain Diego Lugano and a very partisan home media—rather hit out at the “conspiracy theory” floated by the English and Italians. But much to Chiellini’s relief—and everyone who considers football a beautiful game—Fifa has come down severely on Suarez, handing him a four-month ban from any football activity, which includes a nine-match suspension for Uruguay. Suarez won’t be even able to train or enter a football stadium during this period.
“Such behaviour cannot be tolerated on any football pitch and, in particular, not at the Fifa World Cup when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field,” said Fifa disciplinary committee chairman Claudio Sulser.
A line had to be drawn somewhere, for Suarez has now made it a habit of biting his rivals to dust. His attack on Chiellini was as mindboggling as it was shameful. It came without any apparent provocation. Video evidence was conclusive. Suarez had to be condemned to self-inflicted ignominy.
And now, there’s every possibility that he will have to walk alone. Liverpool defended him vehemently after he racially abused Patrice Evra and was suspended for eight matches. Manager Brendan Rodgers personally spoke to him after he unleashed his gnashers on Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in 2013. It was an offence that saw him get a 10-game ban. Before that, in 2010, there was the incident involving PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal. A chomp on the latter’s shoulder had incurred a punishment of seven matches for Suarez. ‘The Cannibal of Ajax’, cried Dutch paper De Telegraaf. The 27-year-old, always in denial mode, refuses to learn from his mistakes. Liverpool, a great football institution with a huge global fan following,