FIFA has come under major scrutiny for many off the field transgressions as of late, and on Tuesday it was presented with its greatest challenge on the field of play at the 2014 World Cup. The world governing body must now deal with the firestorm of allegations that Uruguay’s star forward, Luis Suarez, bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini.
According to a report by NBCSports.com (via the AP), FIFA officials have opened an official investigation and have already charged Suarez with assault for the alleged incident.
The bite in question took place just moments before Uruguay’s Diego Godin scored the game winner in the 81st minute of the match. Suarez appeared to take a bite out of Chiellini as the two tangled in the penalty box, but Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez did not blow the whistle for a foul on either Chiellini or Suarez and let the match continue despite the protests of Chiellini.
Television replays and subsequent pictures released in the media show Suarez making a biting action and clear marks on Chiellini’s shoulder.
Suarez appeared to shrug off the incident and refused to admit to biting Chiellini following the match, according to an AP report.
“These are things that happen on the pitch, we were both in the area, he thrust his shoulder into me,” Suarez said in Spanish, per the AP report. “These things happen on the pitch, and we don’t have to give them so much (importance).”
If found guilty of the assault by FIFA’s disciplinary committee, Suarez is facing a minimum two game ban and could face a maximum of a 24 month ban.
According to the NBCSports.com report, FIFA has asked Uruguay to submit evidence to them by Wednesday at 5p.m. and a decision for any ban must be published before Uruguay’s round-of-16 match with Colombia on Saturday.
While there is much to criticize about FIFA’s actions leading in to this and other World Cup matters, it certainly appears when it comes to this high-profile incident the governing body is about to take swift and just action.