It seems like an open (mouth) and shut case, but FIFA has yet to determine just what it will do about the bite seen ’round the World Cup.
On Tuesday, Uruguay’s Luis Suarez appeared to chomp down upon the shoulder of Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini and soccer’s governing body has until Uruguay’s next match to determine whether and how to punish Suarez. Because of similar incidents in his past, there have been calls for Suarez to be kicked out of the rest of the tournament.
In defending Suarez, Uruguay’s Football Association claims that photos showing marks on Chiellini’s shoulder were digitally altered because of Suarez’s reputation. “We don’t have any doubts that this has happened because it’s Suarez involved and secondly because Italy have been eliminated,” he told Uruguayan radio (via The Guardian). “There’s a lot of pressure from England and Italy. There is a possibility that they ban him, because there are precedents, but we are convinced that it was an absolutely casual play, because if Chiellini can show a scratch on one shoulder, Suarez can show a bruised and an almost closed eye.”
Suarez had until 5 p.m. Wednesday to submit evidence and, as FIFA considers Suarez’s punishment, Adidas and 888.com, a poker firm, are reviewing their relationship with him. FIFA promised a quick resolution of the matter, since Uruguay plays Colombia on Saturday. From The Guardian:
After considering footage of the incident, including angles not shown on television, and other material including witness statements and the referee’s report, [Claudio] Sulser’s committee will decide on a sanction and whether it should apply to all matches or just international fixtures. Either way, Suarez’s World Cup appears to be over.
Senior FIFAinsiders, while stressing that Sulser’s committee is independent, said they expected at least a six-game ban for Suarez. Any sanction greater than three matches or two months leaves open the prospect of an appeal.