x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Luis Suarez needs to realise only he is at fault

Uruguay will suffer for Luis Suarez ban and, judging from a heads-in-the-sand response that appealed only to conspiracy theorists, they deserve no sympathy.

Many have given Luis Suarez unqualified support, fuelling his unedifying, unjustified persecution complex, writes our columnist. Carlos Barria / Reuters
Many have given Luis Suarez unqualified support, fuelling his unedifying, unjustified persecution complex, writes our columnist. Carlos Barria / Reuters

Fifa is an organisation that rarely punishes the members of its executive committee who drag the beautiful game’s name through the mud. So, some will say, how can it pass judgment on anyone else?

Yet Fifa has passed judgment and in swingeing fashion. Luis Suarez has been thrown out of the World Cup, banned for nine international matches and from all football-related activity for four months. It is more than most expected. It is also what Suarez deserved.

It was not simply that he bit Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini, or that he has attacked two other players in similar fashion. It is the reality that he is a serial offender who shows few signs of repenting. It is the fact his actions are so far beyond the norms of human behaviour means he retains his capacity to shock.

It is often asked if biting is a more grievous crime than, say, an elbow, a head-butt or a two-footed tackle, all of which could cause injury. The answer is that it is. It is something an animal does, not an adult. Fifa has a responsibility to the game as a whole and a duty of care to other players, to protect them from Suarez.

Uruguay will suffer and, judging from a heads-in-the-sand response that appealed only to conspiracy theorists, they deserve no sympathy. Liverpool will suffer, too, and many will deem that unfair: his latest misdemeanour did not occur in his club’s colours.

Some at Anfield have attempted to rehabilitate Suarez. Others have given him unqualified support, fuelling his unedifying, unjustified persecution complex. No doubt his apologists will lash out at anyone else – Fifa, plus the Uruguayans’ chosen scapegoats of the Italy team, the British media and the World Cup hosts, Brazil – when responsibility for an unprecedented ban lies with one man and one man alone. It is to be hoped Luis Suarez finally realises it is his fault.

sports@thenational.ae

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