Luis Suarez comment: Barcelona must not indulge striker if they want him to learn from mistakes
The former Liverpool striker is now allowed to train with his new team-mates, however he must still wait for his competitive debut
The one racing certainty in the aftermath of a Luis Suarez disciplinary hearing is that there will be someone, somewhere protesting that he has been treated harshly.
It was no different when the world players’ union, FIFpro, with a tenuous claim to be “the voice of all professional footballers worldwide”, said the Court of Arbitration for Sport should have taken into account Suarez’s willingness to undergo treatment when rejecting a reduction in his ban.
One of the key problems in Suarez’s rehabilitation, three biting bans into his career, is those around him who tell him what he wants to hear. In FIFpro’s case it should have been plain that Suarez undertaking treatment for his habit of shoulder chewing was the very least he should be doing.
As for the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF), it can be relied upon to wring its hands at the tyranny of European morality. Lamenting CAS’s refusal to reduce Suarez’s international ban, which rules him out of next summer’s Copa America, the AUF president Wilmar Valdez described it as a “cultural matter”. “The way we treat football in South America is different to Europe,” he said. “We use sanctions when they are deserved, but not ones that are so harsh.”
The impression AUF officials tend to give is that Suarez’s misdemeanours remain easily resolved cultural misunderstandings, like extinguishing a cigarette lit indoors in a public place.
The four-month domestic and nine-match international bans feel as appropriate as they were when handed down by Fifa at the World Cup. Any complaint from Barcelona that they will be without him for a longer period, 11 games, than Uruguay, with whom he committed the offence, is paper thin. Barça knew the terms when they signed him.
The relaxing of the ban on “football-related activities” will be viewed as a small victory, but it means the Suarez saga will loom large over Barcelona until his playing ban expires. So far he has been training at a private location. Following this concession he will be presented at the Nou Camp on Monday, potentially playing in a friendly that evening. Once the season starts, he will be at the training ground.
His new team-mates will get a flavour of the baggage he brings. No doubt they are convinced Suarez is worth it. But they could do him a favour by resisting the temptation to indulge his belief that he is a wronged man.
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