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Yesterday some footballing history was made. Costa Rica guaranteed their best World Cup showing (worst case, they go 2-1-1) and Greece scored first in a World Cup game for the first time ever. But nobody is talking about that.

Chiellini-bite

See the bite mark there on Giorgio Chiellini’s shoulder? Uruguay striker Luis Suarez bit him.

Let me repeat that. He BIT him. And this is not even the first time, but it is at least the third time Suarez has done this.

The referee was conveniently¬†the only one of the seventy thousand people in that stadium who didn’t see it, and waved ‘play on’. In the ensuing chaos, with the Italian team still shocked and reeling over what had just happened to their teammate, Uruguay captain Diego Godin got the ball in the back of the net. 1-0 to Uruguay, final whistle, and the Italians are out of the Cup.

Unfair? I certainly think so. It was a blatant act of violence, categorically against the rules of the game, and it changed the game enough to dramatically affect the result.

Will any kind of justice be done? FIFA are not known for dispensing harsh penalties, especially to established stars whose performances help to boost their brand. For this as a third offence, I personally feel that Suarez deserves a lifetime ban from professional soccer. There is simply no place for that kind of conduct in sports. In practice, I’ll be surprised if he receives anything worse than being suspended for the remainder of this tournament.

I would personally advocate a replay of the game, with Suarez suspended. That would allow the progress of either team based on merit. A 1982 ruling mandates that the last group-phase games in a group be played simultaneously to avoid a situation where teams can rig a result to mutual advantage – but in this case, the result of the other game would be a moot point. Costa Rica were already through. England were already out. A replay would stay within the spirit of the 1982 ruling.

FIFA have brought disciplinary action against Suarez, and a ruling must be handed down before Saturday, when Uruguay would play their next game.

Let’s hope that decency wins the day.

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