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Soccer World Cup

2014 World Cup: FIFA Must Act Decisively With Luis Suarez

Italy v Uruguay: Group D - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

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It’s often said in soccer circles that world-class strikers require a certain level of “madness” to be effective.  Madness, in these cases, is meant to compliment not only to a forward’s ability to find the net, but also to embrace the opportunity to appear on a highlight reel.

Luis Suarez seems intent on taking the madness thing too far, and his latest antics can only be classified as lowlights.

For the third time in his professional career, Suarez decided to literally take a bite out of the competition, this time against unsuspecting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini, during Uruguay’s 1-0 victory that moved the South Americans into the Round of 16 Tuesday afternoon.

No one is talking about Diego Godin’s critical tally that allowed Uruguay to advance.  Rather, the focus is again on the enigmatic forward who has been embroiled in enough controversies to spin a seasoned Hollywood tabloid writer into circles.

Suarez’s first biting incident took place with Ajax in 2010 when PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal became the first player to feel one of the Uruguayan’s enamel attacks. Then it was Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in 2013, and now it’s Chiellini that has served as the latest victim of Suarez’s insanity.

Following the incident with Ivanovic, Suarez was fined an undisclosed amount and suspended for 10 Premier League games while the FA described the event as “deplorable.”

Now the ball is in FIFA’s court, which doesn’t inspire much confidence. FIFA has been more scrutinized than ever over the past several months for scandals involving racial abuse, bribery and match-fixing accusations. Now, with the eyes of the world watching, they’ll be compelled to take action against one of the World Cup’s most recognizable stars before Uruguay’s Round of 16 match on June 28.

Whatever decision FIFA ultimately makes, it cannot be denied that Suarez has issues. Twice before Suarez has sunk his teeth into opposing players, and on both occasions, soccer fans have hoped that the troubled forward could finally become a mature professional that would let his often-dazzling play dictate the narrative of his career.

Once again, those hopes have been dashed, and for a third time, Suarez has taken his madness on the soccer pitch to a destructive and humiliating level.

Obviously, drastic measures must be taken. Whether it means a season-long ban, a million dollar fine, or mandated psychological counseling, something has to be done about Suarez. Up until now, various governing bodies have been content to offer little more than slaps on the wrist in hopes of shaping the Liverpool striker up.

They failed, and such a failure cannot be permitted again.

As previously noted, the last thing FIFA can afford is another public relations problem. Suarez offers just that. No longer can his antics simply be buried behind the beautiful goals he so often tallies. Quite simply, the hammer must be brought. Both Suarez and the soccer community deserve as much.

Matt Johnson is a Big Ten Conference basketball writer for rantsports.com.  Follow him on twitter at mattytheole or “like” him on Facebook.