Opinion: Dear FIFA, please do not ban Luis Suarez

by Ogunsanwo Babajide

Brazil Soccer WCup It_Cham640

Suarez’s brand marketing team knows that a ban from FIFA is on the way. This seems to be in line with their game plan.  A band from FIFA would only make the name ‘Suarez’ more popular.

Yes, maybe Suarez does not eat before coming to field. Some say its innate madness; others have called Luis Suarez the ‘Vampire of Football.’

So what really is the problem with Luis Suarez? Is it him or are there behind the scenes maneuvers?

All that glitters is not gold; often have we had that told. Today’s football is really not about the game.

Football, especially the world cup, is all about the brands and the opportunity available for them to be seen and heard. Present day football is not just about the dribbles, it is about the money.

The footballers want money. The brands want more money. The broadcasters want the most money.

What does Luis Suarez have to do with all of these?

Luis Suarez bit on an Italian player. The Italians are out of the world cup and very few people remember the name of the Italian player that Suarez chewed on. Everybody in Brazil and around the world have the name of Luis Suarez on their lips.

I smell a rat. I smell a big dead rat. This biting incident has been staged? Does it make sense that Suarez after a lengthy ban at Liverpool would come on the world stage to repeat this? Can a player, as brilliant as Suarez, now act so foolishly? It doesn’t add up. Something is missing.

Eureka!!! It is all marketing.

Luis Suarez and his marketing team know what they are doing. After the world cup biting incident, the name ‘Suarez’ had more mentions on Face Book, Twitter, CNN, Aljazeera, ESPN, Sky Sports, BBC than any other subject in the world.

Isn’t Suarez now the most likely celebrity to run creative adverts for brands that are related to ‘Teeth and Biting.’? There are indications that some very popular international foods brands (names withheld) have started advert placement talks with #TeamSuarez.

It all makes one easily believe that the biting incident was a well planned move by Luis Suarez and his brand marketing team.

Wait a minute, just before you say this is ridiculous; the evidence shows that those that had never heard of the name Luis Suarez now know him.

In all of these, no one has said he is not a good footballer. His football skills remain admirable. After all, it was his boots that sent England out of the world cup.

Can this biting publicity stunt really work for Suarez? Maybe it can, maybe not. It now depends on what action FIFA takes.

Suarez’s brand marketing team knows that a ban from FIFA is on the way. This seems to be in line with their game plan.  A band from FIFA would only make the name ‘Suarez’ more popular.  Once the ban is announced, his name would start trending again on Twitter and Face Book. Sadly, FIFA cannot ban him on social media.

Creative icons, logos, even FIFA football games would be programmed to show Suarez biting his opponents. That is another big cash cow. Football fans would talk about how Uruguay would have won the world cup if Suarez had not been banned.

Suarez and his team clearly intend to cash on this trending image and popularity. This opportunity comes only once in four years.

Suddenly, everybody wants to know what FIFA would do? The newspapers are selling; fans are glued to their TV’s as they await the judgment from FIFA. The broadcasters are smiling. The food and beverage brands are fighting themselves to sign Suarez.

There however remains a chance for FIFA to rubbish the financial opportunities that Suarez wants to cash in on. FIFA should make a tactical move. Leave Suarez in the competition.

This move would hurt #TeamSuarez. They would not expect it. Suarez would no longer be the focus. The focus would shift to FIFA. FIFA would get all the mentions and questions.

Sepp Blatter would be popular again. FIFA would even have a better image if Uruguay (with Suarez playing) losses in the second round of the world cup.  Everybody would make fun of Luis Suarez. That is the right way to punish him.

But it is unlikely that FIFA would listen. Instead, they will let the tempo of the news get to them. Any moment from now, we are likely to hear the news of a severe penalty, maybe a near life ban on Suarez. Luis Suarez would have achieved his real goal.

A ban on Suarez would do nothing but take football commentary to another level. We should all get ready to read news and analysis of ‘How Uruguay would have won the world cup if Suarez had played.’

Dear FIFA, I agree that Luis Suarez needs to be heavily punished, but banning him would be playing according to his rules. This is what he wants to achieve.

Let’s surprise him with the most severe punishment. Do not ban Suarez.




Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.



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