It’s ironic that as Branislav Ivanovic was frolicking around a Swiss football field on Thursday night Luis Suarez was contemplating the repercussions of his “violent conduct” towards the Chelsea defender.
Had Ivanovic not been facing Basle and sitting at home watching James May’s Man Lab with his leg in traction perhaps we wouldn’t be getting all the tedious brouhaha that we’ve been subjected to over the few days unless of course Suarez had bitten it off!.
Suarez’s ten match is expected in the sense that FA can never be relied to arrive at a decision that has any obvious logic attached to it, particularly when applies to our club. What other institution would require Liverpool and Everton to travel down to Wembley for a Cup semi final that takes place on Saturday morning and then, next year, schedule a semi final involving Millwall (which, when I last looked, isn’t too far away from the Wembley) for late afternoon thus giving one of the most notorious sets of fans in the country plenty of time to get p*ssed up and well… you know the rest.
Despite this we should be careful of suggesting “witch hunts” against Liverpool. If Suarez wasn’t Suarez then we wouldn’t be having these debates? No one can seriously argue that Luis shouldn’t be banned however, what I do find puzzling is the logic behind the length of it.
Like the price of a pint or energy bills some FA offences randomly go up and down for no discernable reason? Suarez was banned last season for eight games for racial abuse however, he nicks Ivanovic’s arm and gets ten games! What is worse racial abuse or, as I said in the last piece, an overenthusiastic kiss! The excessiveness of ban is an ill thought out, populist, gut reaction to an “assault” that is unusual and therefore controversial but, at the end of the day, unlike say a two footed tackle on a players shins, not career threatening.
Perhaps some might argue that Suarez deserved ten games and that it is the FA’s attitude towards punishment for racial abuse that needs changing? There is a good reasoning for this when you widen the net to include other football authorities. In addition to his eight game ban last season Suarez was also fined £40k by the FA yet Nicolas Bendtner, during Euro 2012, was fined around £80k by UEFA for having advertising on his underwear and showing the logo (I think it was for a bookmaker) after he’d scored for Denmark?
Does this make sense? Perhaps it does to institutions like the FA or UEFA (money?) if it does then let’s hear it? Many will say that Suarez’s case deserves to fly in the face of this argument because of his past record which isn’t exactly exemplarily however, if that’s the case then fine, but let’s clarify the criteria, let’s see the rules, comprehensively well thought out, explained to everyone and laid down in black and white, so everyone knows where we are? Instead we seemingly get these arbitrary decisions and via different bodies, this one was decided by an independent committee, which only serves to perpetuate confusion and drag out debate – this doesn’t do anyone any favours?.
It is also a missed opportunity. I would have liked to see the FA exercise a degree of social responsibility. What harm would there be in saying that Suarez should be banned for say six games with four suspended on the condition that he gets help ie. attending cannibals anonymous or a anger management course! Liverpool have already said they will help Suarez, how about the FA recognising this initiative and reflecting the responsibility we have taken in their decision?
Which brings me the attitude of Liverpool FC. One should applaud the club for responding quickly to the incident however to state they were “shocked and disappointed” by the decision simply doesn’t help. “Shocked” is a word to describe far more serious and devastating than a few more games ban. “Shocked” is word you use to describe a sudden death or a natural disaster not a slightly longer ban than you expected. “Shocked” is an inappropriate word that misjudges the climate of opinion towards the incident, it will have attracted very little sympathy outside L4. Yesterday the club announced they wouldn’t contest the ban which is sensible, unless Luis wants to appeal sit back and ride it out, it just isn’t worth it?
As for Brendon Rogers. Well this man is fast becoming the sort of person who, every time he speaks, invokes an involuntary reaction in me which is to put my head in my hands! To describe Suarez’s punishment as being “against the man, rather than the incident.” just makes me sigh. The two (man and incident) are inextricably linked and of course the punishment is against “the man” Suarez has past form so does Rogers, even if he isn’t suggesting it’s a witch hunt, seriously believe the commission, righty or wrongly, wouldn’t take this into account? The black, black dark cynic in me says, if anything, Rogers should welcome the six game ban for next season for he has a ready made excuse to explain any bad start to the campaign! Sorry that’s out of order but I bet at school BR never got punished for not handing his homework in!
He then goes on to say.
“For us it is a case of supporting him. He is still very much part of our family and very much part of our future. He is very important for us going forward in order to succeed.”
Yes Brendon presumably that’s the same sort of support you offered Luis when he dived against Stoke which meant, because it suited your image personally, you publically hauled him over the coals for doing so!
Surely the best contribution BR can make to this whole overblown storm in a teacup is to try and start to deflect attention away from it with a result today against Newcastle today? Is anyone holding their breath?. 2-2 draw and no excuses please!.