Liverpool‘s Luis Suarez has received a controversial 10-game ban by the FA for his bite on Chelsea‘s Branislav Ivanovic during the 2-2 draw on Sunday.
The initial reaction from the footballing world seems to be that this is perhaps harsh, but more so confusing. The FA’s punishment system has been questioned multiple times before, but this incident is more dubious than most.
There is no denying that a lengthy ban was fully deserved for the Uruguayan, especially after having received a seven-game ban in Holland for biting while playing for Ajax. However, when you inevitably begin to compare previous offenses that the FA has taken action on, this particular punishment seems odd.
Is biting someone is worse than racism?
It seems the FA may actually consider the latter to be less severe, as they banned Suarez for eight games last year for racially abusing Patrice Evra, while John Terry was given a four-game ban for a similar offense with Anton Ferdinand.
Don’t get me wrong, attempting to gnaw into another human’s flesh deserves a strong stamp of authority, but the 10-game ban makes the racism offenses look slightly less of a disgrace as they should be.
I don’t think the ban was too long for the offense if you view it as a separate incident. You cannot bite someone — it is as simple as that. It was unprovoked and he has been banned for less for the same act before. I think 10 games is the maximum you could argue that the offence deserves.
But, the major argument about this is that the FA have given far less severe punishment to previous incidents in English football that were arguably not just worse in severity, but also worse in morality.
The FA are well known for throwing the rule book about for their decisions, and we all know that those rules are highly questionable. UEFA wants at least a 10-game ban for any racism offense in European football, and the FA will hopefully agree because right now, you have to question what exactly they deem as a more important issue to remove from the game and society — biting or racism.
On the subject of violence, Ben Thatcher was banned for two games less than Suarez in 2008 following his horrendous elbow on Portsmouth‘s Pedro Mendes, which knocked him out. I’m not a fan of going too far back into history to compare, but surely the FA have to take a look at just how they are deciding what determines the length of a ban, and what is more important.
For Suarez, the golden boot dream is gone and he really has no one else to blame. It will be little surprise if he is sold during the summer to a side competing in the Champions League.