Nothing wrong with a little bit of bite

  • by Staff Writer
  • Wednesday, 25th June 2014

Luis Suarez's attempts to take a chunk out of Giorgio Chiellini's shoulder have resulted in the world of football demanding a lengthy ban for the flawed Uruguayan.

However our very own Football Association took a very different view of an identical incident eight years ago when Tottenham's Jermain Defoe assaulted West Ham midfielder Javier Mascherano during a Premier League encounter at White Hart Lane.

With the two players sat on the floor following a robust challenge by the Argentinian midfielder, Defore inexplicably leaned over before biting the current Barcelona star in an identical place to the spot in which Suarez gnawed on Chiellini.

Yet as match referee Steve Bennett witnessed the incident and (bizarrely) booked Defoe for 'aggressive behaviour', the FA declared that they could take no further action. "Because the referee has already dealt with the incident, Fifa regulations prevent us from taking retrospective action," read a statement at the time.

Mascherano, who was with West Ham for just four months was understandably perplexed by the incident and the FA's response; speaking at the time, he said: "This whole incident was incredible. Never in my professional career have I witnessed action like this and I still don't understand why the referee has not shown a red card to Defoe.

"When I arrived in England journalists questioned me about the hard nature of Argentinian football. But I've never received a bite there - and I never thought I would receive a bite in the Premiership. I had a face to face with Defoe in the game but football is a sport for men - not those who want to bite."

Defoe attempted to play down the incident at the time, telling the press that he was just being playful. "The referee was standing over me and if he felt I'd done something bad he would have sent me off," he said. "When the West Ham player fouled me, I reacted in a bit of a mischievous way - my character is a little like that at times."

However by the time Suarez was accused of biting an opponent for a SECOND time in April 2013, some seven years after the Defoe incident, the FA had finally got their act in order and subsequently banned the striker for 10 games following an episode with Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.

Current estimates suggest Liverpool striker Suarez could now be facing a ban of anywhere between 20 games and two years.

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