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FIFA cannot be soft on Suarez

The face of the beautiful game suffered a huge gash with Uruguay’s football star Luis Suarez biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini during a FIFA World Cup Group ‘D’ game in Natal on Tuesday.

So what is the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the supreme football authority doing about it? It has opened disciplinary proceedings in the matter and will wait till 5 pm today (Brazil time) for Suarez and the Uruguayan Football Association to produce evidence to suggest that he should not be punished.

Football fans hear from the rumour mills that the temperamental Uruguay star, who also parades his skills for Liverpool in the english Premier League, will be banned for 24 games. Is that enough for a repeat offender and one who has brought disrepute to the sport?

He got off the hook
This is no ordinary offence. Going by television replays, an opposing player was a victim of a gruesome physical act. Suarez couldn’t be red-carded because the incident did not attract the referee’s attention when it happened.

On Tuesday, Suarez proved that he can give in to temptation of sinking his teeth on an opponent at the greatest show on turf. Only the naive will reckon he is not capable of ‘performing’ a similar or worse act again. The game cannot risk a top-level practitioner’s career ending just because one mindless footballer decides to cross the line and more.

Anything short of a life ban would mean Suarez got away lightly. If FIFA expects other football authorities to be ruthless when it comes to issues of discipline, then they must lead the way and not expect their affiliated football bodies to come up with unprecedented actions.

Bite back
The sport is watched more than ever before; monetary rewards are at their best. Ditto the field of sponsors. Hence, it is only right to make it large when it comes to punitive action on Suarez. Indeed, this is no time to be weak.

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