FIFA’s disciplinary panel is weighing whether to suspend Uruguay’s Luis Suarez for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini in the 80th minute of Tuesday’s match, a 1-0 win for the Uruguayans that sent them into the round of 16 and sent Italy home. According to the governing body’s disciplinary rules, Suarez can be suspended for up to 24 matches or two years — starting with Uruguay’s round-of-16 match against Colombia on Saturday — if a video review of the evidence shows that he attacked Chiellini.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter is a proponent of using video review for disciplinary matters — per the AP, “Video evidence can contribute greatly to fair play, provided the sport’s disciplinary bodies are prepared to use it — and they should,” Blatter wrote in his column in FIFA’s weekly magazine in February — and if history is any indication, Suarez could be facing a lengthy suspension.
The longest punishment for an on-field action at the World Cup came in 1994, when Italy’s Mauro Tassotti broke the nose of Spain’s Luis Enrique in the quarterfinals with his elbow. FIFA suspended Tassotti for eight games (though Enrique later said the punishment was excessive and that he would have been fine with a simple apology).
Also in 1994, Brazilian left back Leonardo threw a vicious elbow at U.S. midfielder Tab Ramos in the round of 16, breaking a bone in Ramos’s skull and leading to a lengthy hospital stay. He was suspended for four games — the second-longest World Cup suspension — and missed the rest of the event, which Brazil won.
In the 2006 World Cup final, France’s Zinedine Zidane infamously head-butted Italy’s Marco Materazzi. He received a red card and a three-match suspension from FIFA, though he retired after the match and never served it, instead completing three days of community service for a FIFA humanitarian project.
This year, FIFA suspended Cameroon midfielder Alex Song for three games after he elbowed Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic in the back.
In the realm of unpunished attacks, FIFA did not sanction West German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher for his flying, studs-first leap at France’s Patrick Battison in the 1982 semifinals, which left Battison in a coma, knocked out some teeth and damaged his vertebra.
Suarez’s bite seems just as egregious — -perhaps more so — than any of these incidents. It would be stunning if FIFA let him play another game in Brazil.
As for when we’ll find out, it doesn’t sound like it will be Wednesday.
FIFA sure making it sounds like there won’t be a decision on Suarez today. He as #uru have until 5 to present evidence.
— Andrew Das (@AndrewDasNYT) June 25, 2014
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