So, Luis Suarez has been banned for 4 months from ‘all football-related activity’ by FIFA. If FIFA had acted half as swiftly as it did on Suarez on allegations of corruption against itself, then there wouldn’t be hundreds of workers dying in Qatar as well. But who am I to judge the all-powerful FIFA right? This ruling is just yet another example of the footballing world and governing bodies living in a cocoon and a law unto themselves. FIFA doesn’t have a clue about it’s own ruling. It is unprecedented and they are making up laws as they go along.
Should we really be surprised? In a way, FIFA’s decision is symptomatic of everything that is wrong with the modern day world. Everyone loves the drama. Everyone loves the fall. It’s a big, bad world out there and everyone is out to judge you instantaneously. And everyone wants to pander to the media. Danny Mills says FIFA’s punishment is insufficient. That Luis Suarez should be “jailed and locked up forever”. For biting a opponent. Yes, it is obscene, yet hilarious in a way. I don’t really get why Suarez would want Chiellini’s sweat in his mouth. But it didn’t draw blood, was benign compared to other atrocities that have happened on a football pitch, leave alone the world. Take Marlon King for instance. It is pretty fucking clear as day that the media, especially the British media, are only reacting the way they are because it is Luis Suarez. Diego Maradona says he thinks Suarez was “crucified” by FIFA. Newspapers in Brazil are treating it as a joke. Newspapers in Italy are focusing more on their team’s group stage exit, as newspapers in England should be doing. But then, Suarez did say he was happy at knocking England out. This is the media’s form of revenge. Get him banned for 4 months. Newspapers in Spain, oddly, seem to have intensified their clamour to get him there.
I do fear for Luis Suarez’s career from here onwards. It is pretty clear that he has let down a lot of people with this latest biting incident – Brendan Rodgers, both Uruguay and Liverpool fans, the club, who have stood by him and, most importantly, his wife. It is pretty clear that he does not WANT to go out on a football pitch with the intention of injuring an opponent. If he did, he wouldn’t be biting them, he would be elbowing their skulls and ending careers. It is also pretty clear to me that he, more than anyone, would want to solve this problem that he faces when the red mist descends over him. In such a scenario, what would work? The carrot or the stick? Would FIFA have been better off by banning Suarez from playing football and instead arranging for him to attend therapy? Is not their role as the governing body to nurture players and solve their problems rather than punish them for outrageous, but ultimately minor infringements? Yes, your 3 year old doesn’t go around biting people. So are FIFA going to ban Joachim Loew for chewing on his own booger as well? I’m sure your 3 year old doesn’t do that either. The fact is, plain and simple, Luis Suarez doesn’t know himself how he will react in the heat of the moment. He probably has both anger and stress management issues. FIFA should have offered, even forced, therapy upon him for that. Not gotten him more frustrated by even banning him from training and asking him to sit around twiddling his thumbs for 4 months. That might even exacerbate the problem.
Now, onto Liverpool FC. What course of action must we follow? I, for one, trust FSG to make the right decision. They’ve shown enough times in the past that they are good at studying legal situations and taking an appropriate course of action. They’ve shown the street smartness, notably in the fight against Tom Hicks and George Gillett, to handle a legal fight swiftly. We also know that Suarez was exemplary last year, not just in terms of playing football but also in terms of behaviour. It may be true that Suarez needs a day to day psychologist to work with and LFC have that in Dr. Steve Peters. But it is not LFC’s fault or problem that Uruguay don’t. If I were in Liverpool’s place right now, I would be getting together a bunch of lawyers who are Harvard Law School grads (no less, givenFSG’s connections to Boston) to fight our corner. I am no lawyer, but I see one of three scenarios developing assuming we decide to not sell him and if we take legal action:
1. Liverpool fine Suarez for breach of contract and don’t pay him for the duration of his ban – While entirely fair if Suarez actually IS legally in breach, this only serves to alienate a world class player who, let me remind you, has been impeccable for Liverpool.
2. Liverpool take FIFA to court over the domestic ban – Again, I am no lawyer, but I would be interested to see how FIFA’s law hold up in a real court of law like CAS. We could question why the ban translates over to domestic games. At the very least, FIFA should pay Liverpool damages to the tune of Luis Suarez’s wages for the duration of his ban.
I think it’s fair to say Luis Suarez has lost the affections of many of us by his antics, which some of us see as a mechanism to get his move to Barcelona or Real Madrid. Let us all leave that aside for moment. Remember, the club is faultless. We are faultless. The only two entities at fault here are Luis Suarez and FIFA. Let us wait and watch what happens. The most important thing for all of us is to put the club first. LFC is bigger than any individual but we do not let one of our own walk alone. It is a fine balancing act and I trust the owners to do it right, whichever way it goes. They haven’t failed us with the big decisions yet. Leaving aside the question of what is right or wrong, IF Liverpool decide to stick by Luis Suarez yet again, he probably owes us with his career, and by extension, his life. 30+ goals every season at the very least. No more sneaky transfer talk. Career ends here unless the club don’t want it. No more diving. No more biting.
PS: Sorry if this post doesn’t come across as coherent or ‘in flow’. I’m absolutely seething at the injustice.