It’s tough to succinctly describe Luis Suarez. He’s definitely a talented player but he’s bitten three people on three separate occasions, has said racially charged things while on the pitch, and constantly dives anytime he possibly can.

Suarez is also someone who is willing to do anything to have his team win and isn’t worried about how he’s portrayed for that. That in no way explains the biting or the racist incident with Patrice Evra but it does explain him committing a deliberate handball and sacrificing a red card to save Uruguay in the 2010 World Cup.

Suarez might also know much more about the rules than anyone on the pitch. In Uruguay’s Copa America match against Chile, a pitch invader interrupted play and Chilean defender Gonzalo Jara tripped him. Suarez ran over to the ref to demand he book Jara which looked rather insane to the vast majority of people watching, myself included.

The issue is, Suarez may have had a point to want Jara sent off. In FIFA’s Laws of the Game, under Law 12 (Fouls and Misconduct), “[A player] is also guilty of violent conduct if he uses excessive force or brutality against a team-mate, spectator, match official or any other person.” And if violent conduct happened, that player “must be sent off.”

Players tackling fans who run out on the field happens in the United States and really, those fans deserve it. The likely argument as to why it could be deemed “violent conduct” in soccer is not wanting players to fight fans in the stands as well as alleviate the risk of fan rioting and escalated violence if a player tackled a pitch invader, even if the fan deserved it. Just let security catch them and that’s that.

This is an obscure rule where probably 99% of fans, media, coaches, and players were not aware of and it’s a rule referees don’t come across often so they may forget, but Suarez somehow knew and had a point. The referee may not have deemed a trip as “excessive force” but it was a potential red card offense.

Having said that, Suarez also appealed for a handball as Gabriel Arias handled the ball while inside the box. Problem was Arias was the goalkeeper and he was just making a simple save. Suarez may have been correct about the pitch invader but there’s nothing to explain about this. Suarez was wrong here.

Uruguay wound up winning 1-0.

About Phillip Bupp

News and soccer editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. I also do video highlight game coverage for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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