Is Luis Suarez a Hero or a Cheat?

World Cup 2010 has been a challenging tournament for fans of the beautiful game. There have been beautiful goals, incredible teamwork and wonderful stories. But there has also been injustices and, at the end of the day, the sport of soccer has been tarnished.

Whether it’s Luis Suarez cheating to prevent Ghana from securing a semi-final berth, or Frank Lampard being denied a well-deserved equalizer against Germany, or the two goals called back, or the two goals that the United States scored fairly but were pulled back, or Argentina’s blatantly offside goal against Mexico, and so on and so forth, the reality is that the game of soccer has serious problems that need to be corrected or it’ll risk turning people away from this sport.

The bottom line is that Luis Suarez cheated Ghana out of a victory in the final minute of extra time. By doing so, not only did he cheat Ghana, but he cheated the continent of Africa and he cheated fair play. Yes, he was punished by the letter of the law in soccer, but how is that fair punishment? Suarez gets red carded but Ghana misses out on certain goal. In American sports, there are rules such as in American football and ice hockey that award automatic goals if certain laws are broken. Why not do the same in soccer when a certain goal is prevented by a hand ball on the goal line?

It’s time for FIFA to get out of its cocoon and make changes to improve this sport. FIFA tells endlessly about fair play, but why not focus on changing the laws of the game so that fair play is encouraged. In the Ghana against Uruguay situation, Suarez had two choices. He could have tried to head the ball off the line (which would have been impossible, even though it would have been fair play) or he could have handled the ball. By FIFA having its laws constructed the way they are, FIFA is rewarding cheating instead of fair play.

It’s paramount that FIFA comes down hard against this type of cheating. I don’t want to hear that FIFA will look into this issue and then they’ll wipe it under the carpet a few months from now when all of the controversy has calmed down. It’s an outrage. Sure, Suarez may receive an additional suspension from FIFA above and beyond what he already has. But it doesn’t matter. The point is that Luis Suarez won. Uruguay won. Ghana lost. Soccer lost.

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