The Football Association today released their “written reasons” for the 10 match ban given to Luis Suarez – except there are no actual written reasons in it.
The document once again brings to light inconsistencies and the hypocrisy of the governing body and how they work.
The one thing the document does not include is why, exactly, Suarez actually received an extra 7 game ban.
Amazingly, the document cites the fact that the incident became a trending topic on Twitter:
The match was televised live to millions of viewers both domestic and overseas. Within a few hours of the match, reference to the incident was both headline news around the country and the top trend on twitter worldwide.
Seriously. Are we meant to laugh or cry?
Note to FA: Callum McManaman was also a trending topic, as was John Terry and most other behavioural instances in football in recent years.
Meanwhile, paragraph 81 reads:
We wished to note that the case of Ben Thatcher, of Manchester City, who was charged with serious foul play in 2006 against Pedro Mendes, of Portsmouth, as cited by Mr Suarez is dissimilar to the violent conduct offence we were dealing with for Mr Suarez and, therefore, did not take it into consideration.
If ever there was a case of, we do what we like, that is it.
While the document does not mention Prime Minister David Cameron – whose comments on the incident have been widely criticised and questioned – paragraph 82.8 is almost an exact reproduction of what an official spokesman for Cameron said earlier this week:
All players in the higher level of the game are seen as role models, have the duty to act professionally and responsibly, and set the highest example of good conduct to rest of the game – especially to young players. In this regard and on this occasion, Mr Suarez’s conduct had
fallen far below the standards expected of him.
Seemingly, as other’s had earlier hypothesised, Suarez’s belief that a 3 match ban was sufficient went against him. Paragraph 84 states:
We took into consideration of Mr Suarez’s apology, his personal statement, supporting letter from Mr Brendan Rodgers and the letter from Ms Zoe Ward.But when these were read in conjunction with Mr Suarez’s denial of the standard punishment that would otherwise apply for violent conduct is clearly insufficient, it seemed to us that Mr Suarez has not fully appreciated the gravity and seriousness of this truly exceptional incident.
At no point are the words ‘help’ or ‘rehabilitate’ included in the document, despite Suarez clearly needing both.
Paragraph 22 states that Suarez’s previous record was NOT a factor in the ban:
we did not take into consideration any previous Disciplinary Records of Mr Suarez and
considered the offence in isolation.
Therefore, we are still left asking why and how 10 games was deemed just. Why not 5? Why not 12? There is no explanation.
We do get a hint as to why 10 was awarded with paragraph 87:
We also felt that the purpose of our decision should not only be a punishment to Mr Suarez for the offence committed, but must also be sending a strong message that such deplorable behaviours do not have a place in football.
So basically, Suarez is a scapegoat.
The report comments on an incident with Ashley Barnes, but concludes:
we concluded that this offence is significantly more serious than that of Ashley Barnes’ and, accordingly, the punishment should be significantly higher.
Again, no reasoning, just ‘ah we’ll do what we like’.
Note: We are not attempting to defend Suarez here – what he did was wrong – what we are questioning the length of the ban and how the length of ban was actually decided.