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One of the most telling line for me was paragraph 77:
"In this regard, we noted that there were no guidelines or precedence for this
type of incident. However, we were mindful that we need to be concentrating
on the circumstances of this incident and comparable violent conduct offences
as a guide and not be tempted to compare with other dissimilar cases. We were
also aware that the Rules, Regulations and practices have evolved and any
temptations to refer to historical cases and sanctions would be wrong."
To me saying they had to compare to similar cases, but then dismissing every example Suarez's council brought calling them dissimilar tells me they wanted to treat this as a one off and not be tied to any previous case (including the Defoe case). In addition saying the Rules, Regulations, and practices have "evolved" gives them full license to make it up as they go.
I think it had to be more than his previous biting ban ( crazy to have to say that about a grown man ) , Paul Davis got 9 for punching, and a red, so as Suarez stayed on that is a ten ban. I understand the FAs inconsistency is frustrating, but i think they got it right here, no matter how they got to that point. Its effectively a 6 match ban anyway as this season is over anyway, his loss wont make any impact on this season. I hope all similar offences are treated the same, no matter who the player plays for.
Steve, I understand the desire to increase the ban over the previous biting case, however by their own rules the FA is not allowed to consider any cases outside its jurisdiction (the Dutch league obviously being separate from the Prem) and in fact the panel clearly stated in the report that it looked at this Suarez case in isolation from any other case.
As for comparing this case to others like Paul Davis, that is a fair point. However why that case and not the bite by Defoe, or any other case of violent conduct? Yes one more than Davis seems appropriate but you could find almost any case to justify whatever sanction you personally think is appropriate to apply to Suarez. For example why not look at the elbow from Gaston Ramirez over the weekend. Obviously a deliberate act, one that came from frustration, and both that and the bite while I'm sure painful at the time did not result in any real injury. The sanction was a red card with no further action by the FA.
Now I understand the desire to punish Suarez, for the act itself I agree with that sentiment (although I do think some, and maybe including the FA panel, also want to punish the man himself for perceived crimes beyond the biting). It was violent play, and in my mind goes beyond the normal sanction, which is why I think doubling the sanction would have been wise. Part of the rational the panel gave was that they wanted to send a clear message this was inappropriate behavior to ensure its not repeated (even though biting is currently very rare in football).
I get that and actually agree with it, but by setting the sanction so high are they saying biting is very serious, while deliberately elbowing an opponent while wrong, is not extraordinary so no need to send a clear message that it should not be tolerated. Or in other words are they saying they are okay in tolerating a certain amount of deliberate elbowing? For that matter looking at the length of sanction, a certain amount of racial abuse!