This biggest disappointment from all this is that they really don’t care. The FA has set themselves up for a whirlwind of criticism and abuse, not just because Luis Suarez was handed a 10-match ban, but because of the wider context of football in this country.
Maybe UEFA and FIFA should have a greater say, although I doubt bodies like the FA will appreciate being undermined in such a way. The FA, however, should look to take steps that rectify a state of football that is not so much maddening as hugely frustrating.
Suarez has previous, so you can more than understand the ruling on this one. The player was punished by Ajax before anyone else when the same incident occurred while he was still in Holland; and in fairness, is there anyone who can argue that the overall punishment this time around isn’t completely justified?
The problem is that a player has been punished in such a way for something that became meaningless after a matter of hours for either of the players involved. Branislav Ivanovic may feel shock more than anything at having been the latest target of the Uruguayan, but on the whole his performances will be fine. As mentioned, we’ve seen it before from Suarez and incidents such as this really do nothing to shake his confidence or contribution on the pitch.
But it’s the disgust and hysteria that’s created. Biting is so otherworldly that the football community demands something colossal be done to the perpetrator. On the other hand, career threatening tackles are often brushed aside as an accident. We hear the same tired excuse of “he’s not that sort of player,” which ironically does not come to the fore when dealing with Suarez. It’s the blind stupidity to defend a tackler from any great punishment in spite of there being notable and obvious previous. It’s the fact that one is seen as a regular part of the game, albeit in ugly one, and the other is so shocking that it demands action away from the norm.
It says a lot about the Suarez incident now that David Cameron has interjected, describing the bite as “appalling.” Yes, I completely agree. But I also think two-footed, reckless lunges are equally unforgivable in the game. The art of tackling isn’t going out the window because the modern game is too soft; it’s going out the window because the modern game is filled with players who have no idea what they’re doing. They’d rather receive a round of applause for a 30 yard sprint and lunge than for any intelligence for the game they might have. If some of the tackles of the past few years are too graphic to be replayed on television, why are they not too graphic for the FA to intervene and make an example of the offending player?
The Suarez punishment was to make an example of someone very high up in the game in England, one who is perceived to be a role model. What will it say about football in this country and its governing bodies if players like Suarez can get away with biting? I don’t think it will be overly detrimental to the long-term future of the game. However, despite audiences not being stupid and hopefully understanding the difference between right and wrong, they are impressionable. These strong, flying leg breaks we see in England are becoming the norm, and the punishment dished out distorts the bigger picture. How can a leg break be seen as something equal to a handball or less of an offence than biting? That’s the issue that needs to be addressed.
[cat_link cat=”premiership” type=”grid”]