Ban or Not: Luis Suarez for Biting

Update: Luis Suarez has been banned for nine matches and from “any football related activity” for four months. That means he can’t train with his club or his country, and we won’t see his smug face in the stands supporting his team in the rest of this World Cup.

This may not be as harsh as some of us feel was warranted, but I can tell you it’s unprecedented and pretty sweeping.  

Now that we’ve all seen the video angles, I think it’s pretty clear that Luis Suarez did bite Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini right before Uruguay scored their winning goal.


Red Card or Not seems pretty superfluous in this latest (that would be the third) Suarez biting incident.

Why Marco Rodriguez couldn’t give a red card for the bite, even with the visible evidence on Chiellini, was that he didn’t see it. Remember, even though we were all pretty sure that the bite happened, it took multiple slow motion camera angles to prove it.

And quite frankly, Chiellini is a bit of a pantomime villain himself, and had been flopping about all day. In fact, he visibly threw an elbow at Suarez (though you can’t blame him), which allowed Suarez to play the victim. Faced with two well-known cheats and not having seen it himself, Rodriguez took the safe path and took no action.

There is never an excuse for biting an opponent. Never. I just can’t think of a single one, and I don’t remember very many other players doing it. It’s a horrific thing to do and it suggests a lack of control in anger that actually borders on the dangerous.

So, the question is not should it have been a red card. Of course it should have. The question is whether Suarez should see another game or not.

FIFA can choose not to ban him (which would no doubt cause an outcry at this point), ban him for the standard three matches for violent conduct (which would see him available for a potential Uruguay final), or – given his history – slap him with a longer ban. They have the option to ban a player up to 24 months, though they’ve never come anywhere close.

Note: I did not add “lifetime ban” originally to the poll, because I don’t actually think that’s an option available to FIFA (someone let me know if I’m wrong). But I’ll add it.

Note the second: Allowing a rematch is the most popular ‘other’ choice. The truth is, that’s not realistic. Even with the capability to allow for that were there (and I don’t think it is), Suarez didn’t score. Diego Godin did. Even if the referee saw the altercation clearly and if Uruguay had 10 men, you don’t know for sure that Godin doesn’t score. And don’t forget, if the referee had seen it, he may well have carded Chiellini for that elbow, and Italy would have had nine. Too many ifs to know what would have happened…

What do you think?

Featured photo: The Guardian


  • Rodriguez was definitely not at fault, IMO .

    Chiellini I thought was having an excellent game, he largely kept Suarez quiet. Probably it was done out of sheer frustration? However, you cannot legislate the reaction from a player who has supposedly “changed” according to his club manager. A heinous act from a player who it seems is always in the headlines for the wrong reasons. Undoubtedly a world-class player but you can’t do that, to anybody. Let’s hope the powers that be do the right thing and punish him severely.

    Sorry for going off topic 😉


  • Considering that he is a repeated offender I first wanted to go for a “as long as possible” ban…but then, this is the WM. Missing it out is a pretty big thing on its own. So I would say: Ban him for an extended period, at least long enough that he won’t play another game this WM.


  • Italy deserve a re-match


  • Jenna, I will again just point out to the need for a video referee. He could clearly see Suarez head going to the shoulder to bite from any angle which would already be enough IMHO. (Even threatening to hit some one is enough to warrant a red card, and in case of Suarez I would say the same for biting.)

    You dismissed a video referee as a fairy tale option but other sports like rugby already using this for the last 18 years without a problem. He gets called upon by the main referee if he wants a advice on a situation. They work pretty much how I would suggest it.
    It is just accepted in that sport. And since it only gets called for any questionable calls it does not delay the play much.


    • And I will again repeat that video replay depends on camera angles we don’t already have. How many angles did it take to see the bite clearly? And even now everyone admits it’s not 100%, but added to the marks and Suarez’ past we believe it.

      My guess from the angle is, the conclusive video didn’t come from the stadium, but from a cameraman in the grounds. Thee Honduras handball NEVER showed conclusively on video.


      • Jenna and I will repeat: a system does not have to be perfect, but everytime it has a chance to make the game more fair is a +1. Why wait ? Even if the marks and the biting is not pefectly visible, what was visible was more then enough for a instant red card. The video ref in Rugby is only a advisor to the referee.

        Compare the system to the current system and tell me honestly, do you not think it would be better? I am not asking if it would be perfect, just if it would be better. People where happy with goalline technology and referee for the few times it would be needed where a video referee would instantly improve the game and would make it much harder for people faking it.


  • Could be that Suarez plays with his mouth open wide and when somebody rams his face they get “bit.” FIFA should look at other videos of Suarez playing in other situations and see whether his mouth opens when he is in the thick of the action. Not that it totally excuses it (he could wear a mouth guard or something), but it would be relevant to look at that. It seems clear that the defender here was ramming Suarez back which made Suarez sort of climb his back. But do soccer players ever get “good” if they don’t take the action aggressively? It’s not supposed to be a contact sport but neither is basketball. In both, the guys who are just shy of the line between foul and fair get to the goal.


    • Biting is bad.

      I learned that when I was four.

      And there are a lot of players out there who are both aggressive and successful and have never bitten anyone.

      There’s just no excuse.


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