Uruguay’s 1-0 victory over Italy in its final group stage match set up a date with Colombia in the Round of 16. The team would, however, be without Suarez, who was banned nine matches and four months by FIFA, and lose 2-0.
Had Suarez been able to continue playing, European bookmaker Paddy Power had a plan to reveal that the Uruguayan striker was wearing a branded mouthguard as the television camera panned by him during the country’s national anthem.
"Last summer we had several exchanges with Joel Borras Garcia from Pere Guardiola's (brother of Pepe) management company. The discussions were around sponsoring Suarez's gum shield for his return match to the Premier League after his last biting ban (the one on Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic). Negotiations broke down over cost but in theory, he was up for it," Paddy Power sources told the Sunday Independent last week.
"We reconnected with Garcia immediately after his latest World Cup biting 'incident' and in principle we had a deal in place whereby Suarez would reveal a Paddy Power branded mouth guard during the national anthems before the Uruguay vs Colombia match.”
You can imagine how much a regular opportunity to market a company during the World Cup costs. Adidas is reportedly paying FIFA €80 million, so had Paddy Power been able to pull this offer, the exposure it wuold have received would have been a steal.
[Related video: Suarez bite more likely than shark bite?]
This wouldn’t have been the first time the ambush marketing of the bookmaker hit a major international soccer tournament. Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner was fined €100,000 by UEFA for exposing branded underwear during a goal celebration at Euro 2012. FIFA was reportedly investigating Neymar earlier in this World Cup for showing branded underwear after a group stage match.
Suarez was already a heavily disliked player, but could you imagine the Chellini bite followed by the Uruguayan donning a smile and revealing his part of a marketing stunt just before the Colombia match?
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