Liverpool Message Board
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Robert first off I need to apologize, my previous post suggested you had not addressed the report, but that was before I saw this post, where obviously you have.
For me much of the report makes logical reading, and there is little I don't disagree with. The case of Violent Conduct was already proven, and yes the report spent most of its time addressing whether it was an exceptional incident or not, and I do think they showed that. In this area I think Suarez was wrong to try to justify the standard (3 match ban) was appropriate.
However where the thing breaks down for me is the sanction and where they try to justify it. In the report they clearly state they have not considered Suarez's history, so I assume we have to take them at their word. However they also state they did not pluck the 10 games out of the air, but looked for similar cases as a benchmark (despite also saying they could not always rely on past cases as things evolve - which to me sounds like a license to make it up as they go, but maybe that's just me). However the Suarez team provided 10 cases they felt were equivalent to justify keeping the punishment to 3 matches. We don't know what these cases were, other than the Defoe incident.
I can understand them wanting to ignore the Defoe case as its a bad precedent, although its the only precedent we have. Therefore rather than writing it off as dissimilar (which its obviously not as its one of the very few biting cases in the English game) they should have stated why it was a bad precedent. I assume they did not as this would have openly stated the ref on the day was wrong, which is something the FA finds it can rarely do.
Instead it comes up with two cases for comparison. First a player kicking a ball boy (one I'm sure your familiar with) and second a player from the Championship who tripped a ref. Now is it just me, or do neither of these seem even close to the Suarez case. But some how they decide the first is not extraordinary (although its the first case I've heard of a player attacking a boy boy) and the second is, but that Suarez's offense is markedly worse so deserves a higher sanction.
Surely they could of come up with at least one other case which was a bit more like what happened between Suarez and Ivonovic. Maybe one involving two players. Maybe one involving violent conduct. Maybe something like Gaston Rameriez elbowing out of frustration, resulting in a red card but no more, or any other case. Or maybe other cases would have been difficult to square with a 10 match ban as its unprecedented.
Sorry but 80% of the report for me makes perfect sense, however the other 20% looks like its been made up or crammed together so that the conclusion can be a 10 match ban.
Dave, you were a bit pre-emptory but apology not needed, blame it on the threading.
There's probably more we agree with here than disagree. At the end of it all the ban is rather arbitrary. I think a case can be made for anything from three to ten matches.
I'm not surprised the FA didn't give top priority to Suarez's list of "similar" cases. I have a little feeling they didn't include his previous biting incident!
The "kicking the ball boy" incident was certainly extraordinary in the sense of being unusual. However they may have decided that Hazzard had no bad intent and didn't in fact kick the ball boy and so do not see that as extraordinary in the sense of needing extraordinary punishment. I think the shoving and tripping of referees to be interesting parallels. They plainly don't rate as violent and yet we see bans of ten or eleven matches. So there is a class of disparate actions which are seen as meriting extraordinary punishment even though no-one is physically hurt. We have touching the ref, biting now, and increasingly, racial abuse.
When you appeal for a similar case to compare it to the elephant in the room is the previous Suarez biting incident. No matter what they say, I don't believe that that incident pand the subsequent ban, and Suarez's more recent bans and warnings, didn't enter their heads or influence the decision. You might say it shouldn't have. I think everyone outside Liverpool thinks it should.
Gotta go now - just drank a glass of beetroot juice and I think I'm going to throw up.