Soccer Players Are Friends, Not Food
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Soccer Players Are Friends, Not Food

6
Soccer Players Are Friends, Not Food

The bite heard round the world occurred mid-afternoon on a Thursday in the Dunes Arena in Natal, Brazil.

The match started just like all the others before it. The first half passed with Uruguay looking like the team to beat, but the game remained goal-less.

After a full 45 minutes, Italy had managed to gain more control of the field. On the flip side of the coin, Uruguay put together a total of five shots on goal, and two wonderful opportunities that should have put them on the board. But this wasn’t the most interesting part of the story. The infamous Dos Equis, “most interesting man in the world,” does not have a thing on Uruguayan striker, Luis Suárez.      

Suárez, known to be a frequent biter, went on to bite for his third time during professional play. It could not get more embarrassing for him, as he bit Giorgio Chiellini, an Italian defender, for the first time on the world stage and the third time in his career.     

Suárez, a striker in the English Premier League, has compiled over 177 goals in his club futbol career. He’s earned the PFA Players' Player of the Year award, FWA Footballer of the Year award, Premier League Golden Boot award for racking up 31 goals in the Premier League and shared the European Golden Shoe with Cristiano Ronaldo. But, the statistics that everyone mentions do not include the number of biting incidents Suárez has amassed since the beginning of his professional football career.     

This past week, Suárez was looking to face his third suspension in four years for biting an Italian defender in the Italy-Uruguay World Cup game. But, this is not the first time Suárez has chomped down on another player. He was suspended for seven games by a Dutch league in 2010 and for 10 games by the English Premier League in 2013. His next ban was not much longer, but it did prevent him from helping his Uruguayan teammates to advance their national team to the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup.      

The Suárez incident took place, last week, in the 79th minute of Uruguay’s 1-0 win.  With the game scoreless, and Italy already reduced to 10 players by an earlier (shady) red card, Suárez became entangled with Chiellini and then appeared to sink his teeth into the left shoulder of the Italian defender. The referee called a foul on Suárez for the contact, but did not appear to see the bite, even though Chiellini pulled aside the collar of his jersey to reveal what appeared to be teeth marks in his skin. A minute later, Uruguay would score the lone goal of the match. The 1-0 win pitted Uruguay against Colombia and knocked Italy out at the group stage for the second year in a row at the World Cup.      

Chiellini was quoted saying, "Suárez is a sneak and he gets away with it because FIFA wants their stars to play in the World Cup. I'd love to see if they have the courage to use video evidence against him. The referee saw the bite mark, too, but he did nothing about it."  

In response, Suárez stated, "These are things that happen on the pitch, we were both in the area, he thrust his shoulder into me.”   


The FIFA Disciplinary Committee finally came to a decision on the incident and reprimanded him with the following:

-- Nine game suspension for official matches. The first match of this suspension started with their match against Colombia in the knockout round, which hurt their offensive approach to defeating a very strong Colombian team. 

-- Ban from taking part in any kind of football-related for a period of four months (including for his club).

-- Stadium ban prohibiting him from entering the confines of any stadium for four months, even to support his Uruguayan teammates.

-- Fine of approximately $112,200.     

“Such behavior cannot be tolerated on any football pitch and, in particular, not at a FIFA World Cup when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field,” said Claudio Sulser, chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee. 

Well said, Claudio, but you could have just quoted Finding Nemo’s Bruce: “Soccer players are friends, not food.”

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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