The results are in, and Uruguay's chances of winning the World Cup have plummeted dramatically as a result. FIFA has suspended striker Luis Suarez for nine matches and banned him from all football-related activity for four months, according to the usual suspects.
FIFA handed down the dramatic punishment after Suarez, the brilliant but troubled striker who was supposed to anchor a talented Uruguayan squad, bit an opposing player during Tuesday's match against Italy. FIFA promised a swift decision after the incident and they certainly delivered, despite Suarez's attempts to defend himself. But given his history with consuming human flesh on the field, his defense was always going to be flimsy. Suarez won't take the field again until November 1, at the very earliest, when Liverpool plays Newcastle in the English Premier League.
Eliminating Uruguay's best player — possibly one of the world's best players — from the equation ahead of the round of sixteen means the team is in for the fight of its life going forward. They should have enough talent to handle Colombia on Saturday, but if the team reaches the later rounds, Suarez's absence will surely be evident on the pitch. Suarez is one of soccer's greatest supervillains, but this World Cup was supposed to be the one time his stupidity took a backseat to what matters most: his immense talent on the field. Unfortunately, as Deadspin's Billy Haisley explained Wednesday, Uruguay's performance this year will forever be marred by maybes and what ifs:
Maybe he could've bettered his masterful two goal display against England this summer. Maybe he could've redeemed himself from all his past transgressions on the World Cup stage by finally growing past the stupidity he had been known for in an inspiring run to the final. Now, we'll never know. We are once again robbed of the opportunity to marvel at the great things Suárez is able to do on the pitch because of the crazy things Suárez can't help himself from doing on the pitch. For that, more than any real inherent evil or insanity, he deserves to be despised.
Here is the full text of FIFA's announcement:
The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has reached a decision in the case related to Luis Suárez of Uruguay following an incident that occurred during the FIFA World Cup™ match between Italy and Uruguay played on 24 June 2014.
The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided that:
· The player Luis Suárez is regarded as having breached art. 48 par. 1 lit. d of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC) (assault), and art. 57 of the FDC (an act of unsporting behaviour towards another player).
· The player Luis Suárez is to be suspended for nine (9) official matches. The first match of this suspension is to be served in the upcoming FIFA World Cup™ fixture between Colombia and Uruguay on 28 June 2014. The remaining match suspensions shall be served in Uruguay’s next FIFA World Cup match(es), as long as the team qualifies, and/or in the representative team’s subsequent official matches in accordance with art. 38 par. 2a) of the FDC.
· The player Luis Suárez is banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) for a period of four (4) months in accordance with art. 22 of the FDC.
· A stadium ban is pronounced against the player Luis Suárez in accordance with art. 21 of the FDC as follows: the player Luis Suárez is prohibited from entering the confines of any stadium during the period of the ban (point 3). The player Luis Suárez is prohibited from entering the confines of any stadium in which the representative team of Uruguay is playing while he has to serve the nine-match suspension (point 2).
· The player Luis Suárez is ordered to pay a fine in the amount of CHF 100,000.
The decision was notified to the player and the Uruguayan FA today.
“Such behaviour 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. The Disciplinary Committee took into account all the factors of the case and the degree of Mr Suárez’s guilt in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Code. The decision comes into force as soon it is communicated,” said Claudio Sulser, chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee.