Monsieur Cannibale: the referee’s view.

By Walter Broeckx

Clean it up, clean it up, clean up the ghetto. That was a song from the seventies I think, that came to my mind when I saw Suarez going out for dinner to the Italian restaurant of Chiellini. Alas Chiellini is not an Italian restaurant but an Italian football player so how hungry Suarez might have been he had no right or reason to bite the Italian.

It will be interesting to see how Fifa will react to this. Apparently they have opened a case against Suarez and he will probably face a ban. Or better said: I hope he will face a ban.

How long that ban will be is not known yet. But with his past I think it could and should be a long ban.

First of all I think the ref made a mess of it on the field. Even if he couldn’t see the incident completely there was enough evidence of what happened. Suarez and Chiellini were on their own in the penalty area. No other players near to them. Now let us presume the ref didn’t see them as he was looking at a gorgeous Brazilian beauty in the stands (he is human the ref) it is really remarkable that the assistants missed it. Certainly the assistant should have had them in his eyes.

Now if the ref had looked at the clear bite marks on the shoulder of Chiellini and then consulted his assistant, that assistant must have been able to tell him that he saw Suarez and Chiellini coming together. And as the bite marks were clearly visible the only thing that could have happened was that Suarez had bitten the Italian player. And give Suarez a red card.

Take note that as far as I can remember Zidane also got send off because the assistants saw him doing his head butt in the WC final in Germany. Now the assistant should have signalled the ‘attack’ and as the ref could see the ‘smoking gun’ he could have sent him off.

Certainly for a ref who has a certain level of fame for giving lots of red cards in the past, this was a soft way to handle the situation. Now I couldn’t give a damn about who progresses from this match at all. So the final result doesn’t matter to me at all. But we can assume that not giving a red card had a bit of an influence even if Suarez didn’t score himself.

On a football field there are a few different sort of aggressive behaviours. Let’s try to have a look at them.

You have the assault on another player leaving the assaulted player behind broken and out for months, years or the rest of his career. In many countries the punishment is big. Bans of 10 to 15 matches have been given. Compare this with the standard 3 matches in the PL. Ridiculous and scandalous. Such things should not happen on a football field. Ban them for as long as the assaulted player is out. It will make players think before they dive in like madmen.

Then you have the kind of aggression that needs to be punished but that is somehow more understandable: the retaliation. A player kicks another player, it hurts madly and the player that is kicked retaliates. He gives a punch or kicks back at the other player. Of course there is no place for that in football. And players who do this should be red carded and punished. I think the usual 3 match ban is a good way to deal with this. Oh, and do something about the first one that kicked also of course.

And then you have the less aggressive behaviour. In the other article that Tony wrote about this incident I saw people say that he didn’t break a leg or anything like that so and so we don’t have to make a big fuss of it. In a way this is correct but we also have to look at some things beyond the football field.

One of the least aggressive things we can do on a football field is to spit. Not the usual spitting on the ground we see hundreds of time during a match. But the deliberate spitting in the face or anywhere on your body. Would we accept walking on the street in London and someone steps up to you and spits you in the face? You might turn the other cheek and tell him to spit on that too, but I think that would be one out of a thousand who would react like that. I am a non violent person but I really don’t know that I would turn the other cheek if someone spat at me.  .

Spitting at an opponent is a red card offence. And you don’t have to hit the target. Attempting to spit at an opponent is enough to get a red card. Why? Because it is disgusting human behaviour. And we, well most people, do want to keep football clean a bit.

And the same can be said about biting someone. Now I know there are things like ‘love bites’ and if you like that, fine. It’s not really my cup of tea but if you enjoy such things with your partner, who am I to forbid you to enjoy it?

But again just like the spitting, I ask you if you would accept it that a person on the bus suddenly bites you in your arm, shoulder, neck? Like hell you wouldn’t. Why? Because it is disgusting human behaviour and in this case can lead to wounds and infections.

We don’t accept that other people bite us against our will (see exception mentioned above). It is animal behaviour to bite another specimen. And we are human beings so we don’t bite each other. And so it shouldn’t be allowed on the football field.

So biting is completely unacceptable behaviour. On and off the field. Somewhere at some time something went completely wrong in the education of Suarez. Biting occurs with little children between 1 – 6 years. And then the social education will teach them that biting is wrong and a normal person will fight that reflex or instinct and behave in a socially acceptable manner. So time to clean it up I would say and make an end to it. And teach our children and future football players that such behaviour is completely not done.

And when you do it three times in the space four years you seem to a recidivist and need special treatment. It is as if Suarez has a cannibalistic attitude. And eating other human being is against the law in most countries if not in all. Which reminds of this song of Sacha Distel from the sixties that goes like:

Oh, Monsieur Cannibale,
Je n´veux pas mourir
Monsieur Cannibale
Laissez-moi partir

Now it will probably be stuck in my head for the rest of the day….

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29 Replies to “Monsieur Cannibale: the referee’s view.”

  1. Walter, one digression: what do you think about the referee Peter O’Leary who screwed up Bosnia and probably sent Nigeria to the Knockout Stage? Have you seen Džeko’s goal that was disallowed for offside? The linesman raised his flag AFTER the ball had gone into the goal. It happened at 0:0 and the game ended 1:0 for Nigeria.

  2. “Monsieur Cannibale”? I thought u are/were a psychologist in some capacity. If I’m not mistaken, then I shouldn’t need to tell u that ridiculing a man with a psychopathology isn’t ideal behaviour at all. “Social education” should teach u that is wrong

  3. this disgusting animal should be banned from football for life .
    what he did is totaly unacceptable .yet this is the third time he has done this in 3 years .
    the man is clearly incapable of being in command of his own actions .
    if a dog bit 3 times it would be put down .
    he is worse than a dog. the dog knows better.

  4. @ Lobsta, that’s Tony not Walter.
    Anyway, this is the 3rd time so someone needs to do something about getting him help. We all saw it, he did it in a world cup, so no pretending it didn’t happen.

  5. Lobsta,
    I (the writer of this article) am a lot but nothing of a psychologist. That is why I allow myself to ridicule everything. Including myself.

  6. Josif,
    I’m sorry I didn’t see it. I hardly watch the world cup. Or try to avoid watching it. I do my own personal WC boycott 😉

  7. Spitting and biting carry the risk of serious disease transmission. They are automatically deemed to be at the highest end of the assault spectrum. If you spat at or bit a person on the street you would be charged automatically with a high end assault charge which in most countries including my own often carry automatic jail terms. Being bitten by someone is extremely dangerous and Hepatitis is easily transmitted as are other diseases.

  8. Seems the refs are giving a few South American teams the benefit of the doubt this WC, or is that just confirmational bias on my behalf? Uruguay especially getting away with a bit, their captain and scorer should have been sent off against England and not on the pitch yesterday.
    Cannot help wondering if the ref will bottle it and do a Clattenberg Rooney trick… I saw it and chose to take no action, or something like that….

  9. I fully appreciate the seriousness of Suarez actions but………….

    it was so bloody funny that I fell off the sofa laughing.

  10. There is certainly comedy in the bizarre….and the way he held his teeth in the immediate aftermath pretending to be the innocent victim. Stan colleymore for once is right, this guy really does have a screw loose

  11. There is some nice football to watch but the officiating is so f’in poor!! Bias is not the word! Selective blind stupidity. Unfortunately the man at the top is corrupt so why should the rest of the organisation be any different.

    The passion I have for football is melting into a distasteful dislike. How can a beautiful game become so ugly?

    @Walter you have to write about the Beauty and the Beast. The two different faces of the game we love.

  12. In addition to a range of serious illnesses and infections,Human bites can also spread HIV. One really does not want to see children or adults for that matter copying Suarez.If the person who is bit fails to get medical treatment, either through ignorance or embarrassment, then the result could be devastating. After all, there is always the inherent risk of physical injury when playing football ( I am specifically referring to football on an amateur level here).However one does not expect to contract a life threatening illness.I believe that in Rugby, which unlike football has specific guidelines on punishments for things like violent play,biting carries the highest sanction with a potential ban of 126 weeks or suchlike. Professional football should do the same.

  13. Walter, as sometime mention about psychologist, may be you should suggest that every player go through a test with psychologist and if they do this sort of behavior, the psychologist will face a fine or something.

    Fair enough I think.

    Also I think the Uraguay coach should be banned for misconduct claiming football games do not need to take a moral ground.

    If FIFA is promoting it as a “beautiful game”, then they should have a clear message against someone claiming the game can be done in a less than moral way. Well, I don’t think FIFA will do that since they did nothing to clear the corruption charges anyway.

  14. all together now: He’s done it again, he’s done it again, Luis Suarez has bitten again…

    would be a nice chant for any supporters facing Liverpool next season

  15. While I do not support Suarez’s action I do think he needs help. Nobody said anything about Jermain Defoe’s bite on Mascherano and Alan Shearer’s jaw breaking elbow. We are all occupying the moral highround now. Sheer hypocrisy!!!!

  16. Josif,
    terrible decision. Video replay is the best answer for such things

  17. @linz
    Please be sure that you research before making claims about HIV. From what I recall HIV is not spread by mouth or bites. Rabies is. HIV is blood transmitted and sexually transmitted.

    The previous offenders are not made innocent by Suarez. Thankfully Defoe only bit once as did Tyson. The Shearer list is longer as he believes (wrongly in my view) what he did was part of the game. He has never expressed remorse for what he did.

  18. In the high pressure game that is professional football, so much happens at top speed that much of the action is purely instinctive.
    It follows that some players, whose retaliatory response invariably results from the proverbial “red mist”, can never change.
    I believe that Suarez should be made to leave the game, before further similar incidents occur, over which he will have no

  19. Alan Shearer has a very long list, including head stamping, in most circumstances, infinitely more dangerous than biting. Not sure why Shearer got away with it so ofter, though there are whispers that his nationality had something to do with it.
    I remember a neighbours kid who kept biting other kids, as well as sometimes himself when he got angry or distressed. Never drew blood, just nipped them. He always said he couldnt help it – he was later diagnosed with Tourettes.
    Not making excuses for Suarez and certainly not comparing a grown man with a kid with a condition, but though he ranks among the most cynical of players,he must also in some way have a screw loose, to repeat such an action knowing he is not going to get away with it. Reminds me of that oft used AAA quote…the one they apply to Wenger about the definition of insanity…the one they wrongly attribute to Einstein
    Suarez needs of course to be punished, but if I were his club, I would insist on psychiatric help as a major part of his conditions of employment

  20. If Suarez is going to get help the first stage would be an assessment by a competent person or persons – the psychiatrist/psychologist. Only then can the full depth of his problem be assessed and suitable treatment determined.

    Regarding punishment – its not just a question of punishment – protection of other players and deterrence to Suarez and any other potential biters needs to be factored in to whatever action FIFA take.

    Unless the psychiatrist/psychologist give a very positive response, I would agree with nicky on this one – ban him from football completely.

    However, I suspect the delay in FIFA coming to a quick decision is due to various interests trying to minimize any punishment.

  21. Sick , the lot of them –
    The 3 Ladies in the Park

    Three old ladies – Gertrude, Maude and Tilly, were sitting on a park bench having a quiet conversation when a handsome young man dressed only in a trench coat approached them from across the park.

    The young man came up to the ladies, stood right in front of them and opened his trench coat.

    Gertrude immediately had a stroke.

    Seeing her friend’s reaction, Maude also had a stroke.

    But Tilly, bless her heart, being older and more feeble then her friends, couldn’t quite reach that far…

  22. More sick jokes from http://www.sicikepedia .org…

    4 men were stranded in a desert.
    Suddenly, 1 of them died.
    The other 3 decided that the only way to survive was to eat the dead body.
    The 1st man said, “I support Liverpool, so I’ll eat his liver.”
    The 2nd man said, “I support Manchester, so I’ll eat his chest.”
    The 3rd man said, “I support Arsenal… but I’m not very hungry!”

  23. I would like to see a ref review on the Brazil vs Croatia game where Brazil having a large Japanese community of around 2 million and has been in Brazil for over 100 years and having a Japanese ref for their first game.

  24. @Mandy

    I used to volunteer at YMCAs a lot, and once had to deal with a fight between 2 young boys in the gym (I was supervising the weightroom). The aggression was all on the part of 1 young boy. I was much bigger than this young boy, so I thought just wrapping him in a firm bear hug would be sufficient to calm him. Well, he kicked away at my shins for quite a while. After years of playing football, this didn’t bother me at all. Eventually he calmed down some, and people better able than me to deal with fighting came by. It turned out this boy had Tourettes.

    Yes, there can be things which drive people to bite. From what I observed in this young boy, if he had of started biting, it would not have been a single bite. No conclusions can be drawn from a population of 1.

  25. @Walter

    I think this incident has had an effect. Or I hope it has an effect. Referees were supposed to approach each game with a clean slate, and just make decisions based on what is observed in the game.

    I think what this incident has exposed; is that psychotic behavior can be present, if rare. Referees need to know about possible psychotic participants, in order to protect all players. Hence, all PL referees (while Suarez remains at Liverpool) must be aware before the game starts that he has a problem. And must act quickly and with knowledge of prior behavior in the future. And if Suarez goes to Spain, all Spanish referees must also fallow that behavior. There should be no clean slate for Suarez the rest of his playing career.

    This is just to protect other players. Suarez needs help.

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