Uruguay's football team defeated the Italian squadra azzurra in Brazil's Arena das Dunas stadium on June 24, 2014, securing a place for themselves in the elimination round at the FIFA World Cup. Diego Godín, defender and captain of La Celeste (nicknamed for Uruguay's sky-blue uniform), scored the only goal of the match towards the end of the second half at minute 81.
The South American victory, however, was marred by the performance of its lead attacker Luis Suárez, who took a bite of out Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini's shoulder, a move that was not called out by the Mexican referee Marco Antonio “Chiquimarco” Rodríguez. The oversight has unleashed a torrent of reaction around the world.
FIFA, the world football governing body, confirmed in a press release that it was opening an investigation into the matter:
La FIFA puede confirmar que se ha incoado un procedimiento disciplinario contra el futbolista uruguayo Luis Suárez, a raíz de un aparente incumplimiento de los artículos 48 y/o 57 del Código Disciplinario de la FIFA durante el partido del Mundial Italia-Uruguay disputado el 24 de junio de 2014. Tanto el jugador como la Asociación Uruguaya de Fútbol pueden presentar su postura y cualquier prueba documental que consideren relevante hasta las 17:00 del 25 de junio de 2014, hora de Brasilia.
FIFA can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been initiated against player Luis Suarez of Uruguay following an apparent breach of articles 48 and/or 57 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ match played between Italy and Uruguay on 24 June 2014. The player and/or the Uruguayan FA are invited to provide their position and any documentary evidence they deem relevant by 25 June 2014, 5pm, Brasilia time.
Spain's daily El País compiled a list of examples of similar prior conduct by Suárez:
Suárez, ariete del Liverpool y de Uruguay, hizo bueno ese apelativo de El Caníbal que se ganó en Holanda y que prolongó en Inglaterra, ahora subrayado en el Mundial de Brasil. Otra dentellada; otro castigo, toda vez que la FIFA le ha abierto un procedimiento disciplinario por morder al zaguero italiano Chiellini. A la espera conocer la resolución del organismo, se aguarda la alegación uruguayo, que tiene hasta las 22.00 horas de hoy para justificar lo injustificable.
Suarez, a striker for both Liverpool and Uruguay, made good on his nickname The Cannibal which he earned in The Netherlands, perpetuated in England and has now underscored in the Brazil World Cup. Another chomp, another sanction, as evidenced by FIFA considering new disciplinary measures for having bitten Italian defender Chiellini. In anticipation of the resolution by the governing body, eyes are on Uruguayan representatives who have until 22:00 (22 hundred hours) to justify the unjustifiable.
Moreover, the article makes reference to headlines in various newspapers around the globe:
A la espera de la resolución, los memes –imágenes y mensajes satíricos en las redes sociales- sobre Suárez son inagotables, con imágenes retocadas de Hannibal Lecter por doquier. Pero la prensa coge el relevo. “Suárez vuelve a morder”, cuenta L’Equipe. “Tiburón III”, refleja el Daily Express. “¿Diente por diente?”, se cuestiona Olé. “Peor que Tyson”, abunda La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Tiene una mente peligrosa que no puede ser reconectada”, intercede el Daily Mail. “Escribe su nombre en la infamia de la Copa del Mundo”, sentencia The Guardian. Ahora, la FIFA tiene la palabra.
In anticipation of the decision, memes—satirical images and messages in social media—about Suárez are endless, with photoshopped pictures of Hannibal Lecter everywhere. The press has followed suit. “Suarez has bitten again,” exclaims L’Equipe. “Jaws 3,” says the Daily Express. ”A tooth for a tooth?” asks Olé. “Worse that Tyson,“ adds La Gazzetta dello Sport. ”He has a dangerous mind that can never be rewired,” opinesThe Daily Mail. ”Suarez wrote his name into World Cup infamy,” declares The Guardian. Now it is up to FIFA to have the last word.
Echoing the line taken in El País, NotiHoy shared a collection of front page images on Twitter which highlight Suárez's assault:
— Notihoy (@notihoyweb) June 25, 2014
#MundialBrasil2014 Luis Suárez's bite is bigger news than Uruguay's win.
User Rathfarnham Village broadcast the following images among his followers:
— Rathfarnham Village (@RathfarnhamV) June 25, 2014
And Laceldadelbob made the following contribution:
— Laceldadebob.cl (@laceldadebob) June 24, 2014
“Why do you invite me if you know what do I do.
Ernesto Díaz suggested that what Suárez needs is the help of a specialist:
Lo de #LuisSuarez ya es de PSIQUIATRA
— Ernesto Diaz (@DiazErnesto) June 24, 2014
#LuisSuarez is calling for a PSYCHIATRIST.
Silvia Vinas, our own Global Voices collaborator, shared her thoughts about what happened on the pitch:
Feo, feo, feo lo de Suarez. Bendita la cabeza de Godín. #URUvsITA
— Silvia Viñas (@silviavinas) June 24, 2014
Nasty, nasty, nasty what Suarez did. Godín's head is blessed by the gods.
Expectations are high regarding FIFA's reaction to Suárez's behaviour—he is a player with a history of violence (more bites), racial abuse in England's Premier League and illegal ball handling (2010 World Cup). It remains to be seen whether these priors will be taken into account when adjudicating the current incident.
UPDATE: On Thursday June 26, 2014, FIFA's disciplinary committee punished Uruguayan striker Luis Suárez with a nine-month suspension and four-month ban on any football-related activity.