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As FIFA begins Suárez investigation, two-year ban the maximum punishment at its disposal

Jun 24, 2014, 7:59 PM EDT

Uruguay's Luis Suarez kicks the ball during the group D World Cup soccer match against Italy at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. Uruguay defeated Italy 1-0. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan) AP

A FIFA spokesperson has confirmed that the world soccer governing body is gathering information in the wake of Luis Suárez’s latest biting incident, but according to the governing body’s disciplinary code, the maximum punishment at the organization’s disposal is two years. To this point, no punishment for behavior during a World Cup has approached that sanction.

Per reporting from The Telegraph, the longest suspension ever handed down during the finals is eight games – the sanction Italy’s Mauro Tassotti received after breaking Spain’s Luis Enrique’s nose in 1994. Brazilian defender Leonardo was suspended for four-games for an elbow that fractured U.S. midfielder’s Tab Ramos’s skull in the same tournament, while Zinedine Zidane was given a three-match ban for head butting Italian defender Marco Matterazzi in 2006.

The obvious difference here: Suárez is a repeat offender. Though his previous episodes have been at club-level, those incidents will likely inform how FIFA handles today’s behavior. Coming off last year’s 10-game ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, Suárez’s latest action might take FIFA into uncharted territory.

[ MORE: Suárez bites Chiellini | PredictableHow long to ban ]

From The Telegraph:

A Fifa spokesperson said: “We are awaiting the official match reports and will gather all the necessary elements in order to evaluate the matter.”

Fifa’s disciplinary code sets a maximum ban of 24 matches or two years, but the longest ban in World Cup history was eight games for Italy’s Mauro Tassotti for breaking Spain’s Luis Enrique’s nose in 1994 with an elbow …

Fifa’s disciplinary code allows action to be taken retrospectively via video evidence even if the incident has been seen by the referee.

Article 77 of Fifa’s disciplinary code states the disciplinary committee is responsible for “sanctioning serious infringements which have escaped the match officials’ attention” and “rectifying obvious errors in the referee’s disciplinary decisions”.

That brings us back to the question Joseph Prince-Wright tried to answer earlier today: How long should Suárez be banned? England set a standard with 10 (lower stakes) games. The maximum is 24 months. Should the ban be based on games played (with 24 being the maximum)? Or have we reached the point where Suárez needs to take a set period of time off?

And to what end? If, as we discussed later today, this problem may not be correctable, the whole goal of the punishment needs to be reassessed. Providing a deterrent for Suárez may be irrelevant. Punishment may be more about justice, as well as deterring other, less impulse-driven players from doing the same.

The deeper we dig, the more complicated the Suárez picture becomes, but with Uruguay set to play against on Saturday, we should have an answer soon. For the second straight tournament, the Uruguayan star will likely serve a suspension in the knockout round.

  1. braxtonrob - Jun 24, 2014 at 8:15 PM

    Ban him after the Colombia game, (because they’re about to get their collective tails kicked, no matter how much biting he does.)

  2. canadatude - Jun 24, 2014 at 8:43 PM

    Italy out again! That bites!

  3. footballer4ever - Jun 24, 2014 at 9:18 PM

    From a football enjoyment point of view, it’d be a shame not to see him play. Ban him for the rest of the World Cup and International play for a year. Let F.A. deal with him at club level with the condition any punishment result must follow him no matter which league he moves to.

  4. scoochpooch - Jun 24, 2014 at 9:23 PM

    Two year ban from ALL competitions, international and club.
    11 game ban from World Cup competition, meaning he can’t play again until 2022.
    Harsh I know, but repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat offender.

  5. cityofchampions27 - Jun 24, 2014 at 9:40 PM

    Just ridiculous. This guy needs to be suspended period. I mean 3 strikes and ur out. But the real travesty was that the ref didn’t do anything after seeing the marks on his shoulder! C’mon man

  6. jolink653 - Jun 24, 2014 at 10:15 PM

    The ref didn’t see it happen, so he really had no way of knowing if Suarez happened to bit Chiellini or, for example, if Chiellini caught him in the teeth with a shoulder. Can’t send him off if none of the refs saw it.

    I agree though. He needs at least a year long ban from all play, both international and club play. Suarez is a straight up menace and the way he conducts himself on the pitch is an absolute disgrace. He obviously learned nothing from his two previous biting bans and there’s gonna come a day where he seriously injures another player by biting them. For everyone else’s safety, they cannot allow him to play. What makes it even worse is the disgusting statement he put out claiming that he did nothing wrong and it wasn’t what it looked like. He can’t even own up and take responsibility for what he did

  7. pharmaherb - Jun 24, 2014 at 10:34 PM

    Second paragraph, first sentence:

    Per reporting from The Telegraph, the longest suspension every handed down during the finals is eight games

    It is ever, not “every”.

    Just a heads up to your proofreaders!

  8. schlom - Jun 24, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    What was up with those suspensions from 1994? Leonardo’s elbow certainly seemed worse than Tassotti’s yet only got suspended for half as long.

  9. granadafan - Jun 24, 2014 at 11:27 PM

    Two years or 24 games, whichever is longer. That should include club and international.

    • hartfordhellions4ever - Jun 25, 2014 at 12:36 AM

      4 game world cup ban. 20 game all other competitions (league,federation, ect.). Harsh. But at this point it really needs to stick or he just won’t change.

  10. quackbury - Jun 24, 2014 at 11:52 PM

    Screw FIFA. Where are the criminal and civil sanctions? I mean, he’s not Aaron Hernandez, but surely Brazil must have laws against assault and battery, right? Throw his sorry azz in jail for 2 years, let him try biting one of the other inmates, and the problem will go away once and for all.

    The courts too slow? Hit him in the pocket book. Petition all his endorsers to drop him like a hot potato. With Snickers, Bud and others capitalizing on this incident, what company would want this piss poor role model representing its products?.

    Better still, wouldn’t it be great if there was some Sharia provision that says if you bite someone, the punishment is all your teeth get pulled? That would probably solve the problem once and for all. Let the wannabe cannibal feast on mashed bananas instead

  11. Matthew - Jun 25, 2014 at 12:04 AM

    Reblogged this on Carolina Mountain Blue.

  12. lunasceiling - Jun 25, 2014 at 3:47 AM

    I’d like to see a year-long international ban (which would obviously encompass the ongoing World Cup), the FA impose a similar penalty, and either one of those organizations and/or Liverpool make completing a serious, legit treatment program a condition of his return. He’s an adult biter. That’s a psychiatric issue that he needs to get help for.

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