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World Cup 2014

World Cup 2014: Fifa sends clear signal it won't tolerate violence

Published on Jun 28, 2014 8:39 PM

SINGAPORE lawyer Lim Kia Tong, part of a seven-member Fifa disciplinary committee which presided over the Luis Suarez biting incident, said the message the governing body sent is unmistakable: Such acts of violence will not be tolerated in football.

"The signal is very clear - biting an opponent has no place in the sport, especially when it is done on a platform as big as the World Cup, with millions watching," said the 60-year-old, who is the deputy chairman of the committee.

Lim, who heads the criminal litigation department of Hin Tat Augustine & Partners, said the committee deliberated long and hard before arriving at the verdict.

And while he could not go into details on what the committee considered before meting out the punishment, he did say that the members examined every piece of evidence.

Suarez was banned for nine international matches - the longest suspension handed out at the World Cup.

He will also be prevented from taking part in any football-related activity for four months, including entering any stadium.

The Uruguayan was fined 100,000 Swiss francs (S$140,000).

Reaction to the verdict has been mixed. Uruguayans were shocked and angered by the news but most fans from other nations agreed with the punishment, with some even saying that the sanctions should have been heavier.

Yet, given that the Suarez ban covers four aspects, one could argue that his punishment is unprecedented at a World Cup.

France's Zinedine Zidane and Italy's Marco Materazzi were handed bans of three and two matches each and fined £3,260 (S$6,920 at the current exchange rate) and £2,170 respectively for their altercation in the 2006 final.

Italian Mauro Tassotti was given only an eight-match ban for breaking the nose of Spain's Luis Enrique in their 1994 quarter-final.

Lim, a vice-president of the Football Association of Singapore, said the Suarez incident took up a lot of the panel's time.

The committee has a daily briefing at its Rio headquarters and deals with any disciplinary issues that may crop up during the tournament.

Lim will be based in Rio for the entire duration of the Cup, having arrived on June 10 and leaving only on July 14.