Common sense prevailed in the end. Liverpool had their say, made a lot of eloquent points about the heavy duty nature of the 10-match FA ban levied against Luis Suarez and ultimately accepted that was the most for which they and the player could hope.
Suarez has become a cause celebre for some, the victim of a miscarriage of justice. Sympathisers highlighted the inconsistency in FA punishments, ten for biting against eight for racism, for example. Brendan Rogers argued that in dispensing justice the independent panel judged the man more than the offence.
There is also the powerful case of Jermaine Defoe, who escaped sanction on a technicality regarding retrospective action after biting Javier Mascherano seven years ago. To treat Suarez leniently in light of the Defoe case would not be right. Better to acknowledge that the FA were badly at fault in allowing Defoe to escape. To repeat that error would not serve the game well.
This sentence does not constitute the hounding of a misunderstood soul. Suarez does not need rehabilitating as some have argued. And this does not constitute an attack on the foreigner in our game, nor the culture from which he emerged. It was a fair cop.
Suarez was served with a seven-match ban in Holland three years ago for the same offence. A second assault on Branislav Ivanovic points to a lesson either not learned or worse, disregarded. This was a calculated act intended to do harm to an opponent. It did not result from a tackle or any other physical challenge or confrontation recognised in the game.
It was outside the code of what is acceptable and set the worst kind of example. It is absolutely right for football’s governing body to counter that with an example of their own.
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