Former Kettering Town and Northampton Town winger Eddie McGoldrick has hit out at the FIFA punishment handed to Uruguay striker Luis Suarez for biting, saying it is nothing more than ‘a slap on the wrist’.
Suarez is out of the World Cup after being found guilty of biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder during his nation’s 1-0 qualfying group D win on Tuesday.
It is the third time the Uruguayan has been found guilty of biting an opponent, following on from incidents involving PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal, while playing for Ajax, in 2010 and Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, while playing for Liverpool, in 2013.
Following the bite on Chiellini, Suarez has been banned for nine international matches, and has also been handed a £65,000 fine and a four-month ban from all football activity, meaning he won’t be able to play for club side Liverpool until November.
And former Republic of Ireland international McGoldrick, who was part of the squad at the 1994 World Cup in USA, says he feels sympathy for the Anfield club after that decision, and instead believes it should be Suarez and Uruguay that feel the full force of the discplinary action.
Indeed, he thinks Suarez should have been banned not just for this World Cup - but the next one in Russia as well.
“I think the punishment is just a slap on the wrist, and Suarez should have been punished more,” said McGoldrick, who was sold by the Cobblers to Crystal Palace for £200,0000 in 1989, and went on to play for Arsenal and Manchester City.
“I feel slightly sorry for Liverpool that they are getting punished, because he was on the international stage.
“But with the politics that are involved with FIFA, this punishment that has been laid down looks good on Sepp Blatter who is going for office (as FIFA president) again.
“I feel sorry for Liverpool, because over the past year they have rehabilitated Luis Suarez to a level where he only got a couple of bookings last season, he cut out the diving, and had a fantastic season winning the player of the year, and the football writers’ player of the year.
“But if something is in your DNA, then it is always going to come out, and what Suarez did is just unacceptable, there is no place for it in football.
“Biting somebody is what kids do when they are two or three and they can’t get their own way when they are playing in the playground or garden with their friends or their siblings.
“But for Suarez to do it three times is incomprehensible.”
And McGoldrick, who is back working in Northampton as the head coach at the new Thomas Becket School Football Academy which opens its doors in September, says it should be Uruguay who feel the pain of their star player’s actions.
“I would have banned him for four years,” said the 49-year-old, who was a key man in Graham Carr’s Division Four title-winning side of 1987.
“I would have said to Suarez ‘you are not playing in this World Cup, you are not playing in any qualifiers for the next World Cup, and you won’t play in the next World Cup if Uruguay qualify either.
“That’s what I would have done, because the incident happened on the world stage, and that would make a proper example of him.
“The ban as it stands is harsh on Liverpool, because they are the ones who are going to suffer.”