Defending Luis Suarez: Jermain Defoe bit Javier Mascherano in 2006 & wasn’t banned

“I am deeply sorry for my inexcusable behaviour earlier today during our match against Chelsea. I have issued an apology and have tried to contact Branislav Ivanović to speak to him personally. I apologise also to my manager, playing colleagues and everyone at Liverpool Football Club for letting them down.” – Luis Suarez.

“Luis has made an unreserved apology for his actions today. His behaviour is not befitting of any player wearing a Liverpool shirt and Luis is aware that he has let himself and everyone associated with the club down. We will deal with the matter internally and await any action from the FA.” – Liverpool’s managing director Ian Ayre.

“Having reviewed the video footage and spoken to Luis, his behaviour is unacceptable and I have made him aware of this.” – Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers.

We have constantly been told since Luis Suarez bit Branislav Ivanovic that the Liverpool striker faces a lengthy ban and could well have played his last game for the Merseyside giants.

This website, among many others pointed to a 2010 incident involving Suarez during his time at Ajax, but it is unlikely that can be used in this specific case as it was judged on by a different FA, the Eredivisie.

So, when the FA do come down hard on Luis Suarez, as they no doubt will – what precedent do they have?

In October 2006, Jermain Defoe bit Javier Mascherano in a match at White Hart Lane between Spurs and West Ham.

It was the old “we are not allowed to take retrospective action” argument from the Football Association.

An FA spokesman said at the time: “There won’t be any further action taken against Jermain Defoe because we are not able to take any. If a referee deals with an incident, which he did, we are not allowed to retrospectively take disciplinary action in terms of upgrading or downgrading cards.”

A comparison of the two incidents is on the video below.