Liverpool The Real Losers In Suarez Suspension

Luis Suarez has received an official 9-match international ban and will also be suspended from all football-related activities for four months.

Four Month Ban
The Uruguay striker will play no further part in this summer’s World Cup following his bite on Italy defender, Giorgio Chiellini in Tuesday’s final group game with Italy. The Liverpool striker has also been handed an unprecedented four month ban from any football-related activities which means he will be unable feature for the Merseyside club until the 26th of October, effectively ruling him out for the first nine matches of the new Premier League season. He has also been fined around £66,000 for the offence.

No one was exactly sure what to expect from FIFA regarding the punishment they would meat out to Suarez; anything from a five-to-nine game ban was mooted but jaws hit the floor, to some degree, when the news eventually broke. Reaction across the footballing world has been divisive, though, to say the least. Many believe the punishment too lenient, some too severe.

If Danny Mills had his wicked way with Suarez, he’d be lying in prison cell right now; an example of the hysteria following the incident.

Repeated Offences
In perspective, few could argue that a high, two-footed, vicious tackle by one player on another is less dangerous than a bit of a nibble on someone’s shoulder and therefore one could argue it deserves less punishment. However, there are certain taboo offences in football: spitting and attacking spectators to name a couple. Biting also falls under that category due to the sheer surreal and abhorrent nature of it. It’s a trait you would commonly associate with a toddler, or possibly someone with quite obvious mental problems.

The fact that this is the Uruguayan’s third such offence is more than likely the reason behind the apparent severity of the ban. In your normal, average, work-place scenario, three strikes and you’re out; the footballing world, as we know, is nothing like the real world and therefore, Suarez will eventually return to football ‘a reformed character’, no doubt. The problem in this scenario is that due to the repeat nature of these offences, can Suarez be trusted to behave once his ban has ended? Sports psychologists have said that past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour; one in particular had warned that after the second bite on Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, he would attempt something of this nature within five years – it took just over one.

Liverpool’s Loss
The real losers in this situation, though, are Liverpool Football Club. Their sought-after striker will miss three Champions League games and nine Premier League games for something outside of their control. How Brendan Rodgers and the club handles this major blow will be fascinating. Reports had been circulating for weeks that Barcelona and Real Madrid were sniffing round with some going so far as claiming deals had been agreed with the former Ajax forward. How this ban will affect any potential move is yet to be decided.

One thing is for sure, though: Luis Suarez owes Liverpool Football Club a great debt in continuing to stand by him. His actions, not just during the Italy game, but his comments preceding it, have flown in the face of the people who have done much to protect him during his time in England. If he should return and play for the club, Suarez needs to realise his actions have far greater-reaching consequences than just his own selfish needs.