FIFA dilemma: How to train your Suarez

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A FEW years ago, Fifa blamed the rising number of diving incidents on professional players whose dives in big matches were imitated by amateur players.

The pros got away with it, so, those who idolize them started copying their antics.

It’s one of the worse examples of professionals becoming bad examples in the sport, a headache for organizers.


The latest biting incident involving Luis Suarez, shows the ugly side of football again. Sometimes, if the refs don’t see it, you can get away with it.

If the incident seemed unbelievable, the footballer’s reasoning behind it is even more so.

Suarez’s explanation? “These are things that happen on the pitch, we were both in the area, he thrust his shoulder into me...These things happen on the pitch, and we don’t have to give them so much (importance.)

It’s as believable as explaining an elbow to the head as “a headbutt to the elbow.”

I've seen and heard of a lot of things that happen in the pitch but prior the Italy vs. Uruguay game, the last two incidents involving a bite in a football match all involved Suarez.

His lengthy bans—seven games in the Dutch League and 10 in the Premier League—seemed to have done nothing to curb his biting streak.

And now, in the game’s biggest stage, football’s bad boy has shown his ugly side again. And, let’s not forget that in 2010, he deliberately handled a ball that going straight to the goal in Uruguay’s win over Ghana.

So, what do you do with a gifted but mentally flawed player like Suarez?

Reports say Fifa is opening an investigation and a ban could be between two matches and two years. I’m not sure if Suarez’s previous infractions would be counted as it happened in club football, but I hope it does and Fifa should go beyond the minimum.

Two games? One year? Two years?

I don’t know, but I hope the punishment would finally get him to straighten his act and to send a message worldwide—bite and get banned.

When Zinedine Zidane got red carded back in 2006, I knew of some local players who faced disciplinary actions reason out, “Hey, why should I be banned? Zidane wasn’t banned.”

I hope the ban would be so severe that no player can ever say, “Hey, why should I.....”


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 26, 2014.


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