888 Poker are considering carefully their association with Suárez after the Uruguayan player bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder during the final group D match in the World Cup. The incident, undoubtedly the result of the controversial player’s pent up emotion and frustration, has been condemned by football fans, pundits, players and the press worldwide.
FIFA have now reached a decision to ban Luis Suárez for 9 International matches, which will see him missing out on the rest of the 2014 World Cup tournament, they have also handed him a 4 month ban and a fine of £65,680.
Sponsorship deals hang in the balance for the hot-headed Liverpool player, with Adidas and 888 Poker both making public statements; 888 posted on Twitter “Following recent allegations made against Luis Suárez, we are reviewing our relationship with him. We will not tolerate unsporting behaviour.” A statement released from Adidas stated that they ‘fully support’ the decision to ban the player and said “Adidas certainly does not condone Luis Suarez’s recent behaviour and we will again be reminding him of the high standards we expect from our players.”
The understandable worldwide public outcry has been dismissed as overreaction in Uruguay, and in fact the president of the Uruguay Football Association has said that they intend to appeal to have the ban lifted.
There is no doubt that the ‘The beautiful game’ has lost some of its famous glamour, and in front of a global audience too.
Interestingly there were some sports bettors who had correctly predicted that Suarez would bite another player during the World Cup tournament; an online bookmaker offered odds of 175/1 and paid out £44,000 to the 167 lucky punters who clearly had the temperamental football player’s card well and truly marked.
Update: 888 Poker have since decided to cancel their endorsement deal with Luis Suárez.