Last week wasn’t really the best one in Luis Suarez’s career. Following his now infamous biting incident in which he dug his teeth into Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini, the entire world wondered what he was thinking. The condemnation was basically universal, outside the expected support from Uruguay, his teammates, and his coaches.
But then the real consequences of that action started rollig in, as 888poker announced that they will be cancelling their sponsorship deal with the Liverpool superstar, and many expect that other sponsors might soon follow suit.
888 Ends Relationship Immediately
“888poker signed Luis Suarez following a fantastic season for which his achievements were widely recognized,” the company said in a brief statement on the matter Friday. “Regrettably, following his actions during Uruguay’s World Cup match against Italy on Tuesday, 888poker has decided to terminate its relationship with Luis Suarez with immediate effect.”
Suarez’s tenure as a brand ambassador for 888 was a short-lived one. He joined the company in May, and was expected to use his fame to serve as a worldwide ambassador for their poker operations. He had continued to make video diary entries for the site through the beginning of the World Cup, posting one after his two goals helped Uruguay defeat England last week.
Other Sponsors Could Follow
While losing an online poker sponsorship may not seem like a huge deal for one of soccer’s biggest stars, it could be a portent of things to come for Suarez. Many have been questioning just how Adidas will react to the biting incident, as the Uruguayan striker is one of their biggest partners in the soccer world. The sportswear company has already said that they will be considering their relationship with Suarez, though they have not yet taken decisive action.
“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 company wrote in a statement. “We have no plan to use Suarez for any additional marketing activities during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
“We will discuss all aspects of our future partnership directly with Suarez and his team following the World Cup.”
FIFA Imposes Four-Month Ban
The biggest immediate problem for Suarez, however, is the punishment doled out by FIFA. On Thursday, FIFA officials announced that Suarez would be banned for nine international matches as well as for four months in all soccer activities. This means that he will miss the rest of the World Cup regardless of how far Uruguay advances, and will likely miss competitive games for the country in next year’s Copa America, the South American championship that Uruguay won in 2011.
That also spells trouble for Suarez at Liverpool. The four-month ban will mean he’ll miss at least the first nine Premier League games for his club, as well as three Champions League group stage games. Uruguay has promised to appeal what they’ve called an excessive punishment, while Liverpool is looking to what options they might have to challenge the ruling.
But throughout most of the international soccer community, the consensus seems to be that Suarez got off lightly. This was his third biting incident, after all; in previous cases, Suarez received seven and ten match bans respectively.