Ban could force Suarez out, fears Houghton

The former Republic of Ireland international believes the Reds' controversial Uruguayan striker could quit the club after he was banned for 10 games
Former Liverpool midfielder Ray Houghton has called Luis Suarez’s 10-game ban for biting “excessive” compared to the eight he received for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra last season.

England's other lengthy bans

Eric Cantona
Nine months, kicking fan

Mark Bosnich
Nine months, failing drugs test

Rio Ferdinand
Eight months, missing drugs test

Joey Barton
12 games, violent misconduct

Paolo Di Canio
11 games, pushing over referee

David Prutton
10 games, pushing over official

Paul Davis
Nine games, punching opponent

Luis Suarez
Eight games, racial abuse
And Houghton has blasted the FA’s disciplinary procedures as being “outdated” and in need of radical overhaul.

Suarez had accepted a charge of violent conduct and expected the maximum three-match ban, but an independent regulatory commission agreed with the FA that such a suspension was insufficient.

The ban, which begins with immediate effect, will include the first six games of next season.

Houghton said: “Handing out a longer ban for biting than racial abuse doesn’t add up. How did the FA reach that decision?

“Of course, biting is unacceptable, but racial abuse is far more serious.

“The FA hide behind their disciplinary panels and independent commissions, but it’s about time they faced up to the fact that the punishments don’t always make sense.

“In this case, 10 games is excessive and I’m sure Liverpool will feel they’ve got a good chance of overturning the length of the ban.

“I sometimes wonder if the FA just like to flex their muscles to show who is boss. If so, why didn’t they also take retrospective action against Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge and Manchester City’s Samir Nasri for dangerous tackles on Sunday?

“The key about disciplinary action is that it must be seen to be applied fairly and in this case I don’t think it is.”

Houghton is worried that the latest controversy might mean that Suarez could decide to move on in the summer.

He added: “If the ban is upheld that will mean that two bans has cost him 18 games – almost half a season.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if his advisers are telling him that it is time to cut his losses and move on.

"Despite it all, Liverpool coach Brendan Rodgers won’t want him to go. There are not talented players like Suarez around, certainly not at Liverpool.

“The problem with Liverpool is that there might not be very much they can do about it. We saw with [Cristiano] Ronaldo at Manchester United, if your top player has his heart set on leaving then they usually get their wish.”