You might think that Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore would be devastated to lose the league's record-matching top scorer. But since that departing superstar is Luis Suarez, he says he's more relieved than anything.
Suarez moved from Liverpool to Barcelona in a deal that made him one of the most expensive players ever just after he was banned from all football-related activity for four months by FIFA because he bit Italy's Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup. The third time he's bitten an opponent in the last four years. Then there was the ban for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra in 2011. And the handballs. And the diving. And the obscene gestures.
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Given all that, Scudamore seems to feel that Suarez moving to Spain is like saying goodbye to a recurring migraine. From the AP:
''He's a great player and I'm not taking anything away from his talents - he was voted by both his own players and the media last year the player of the year and deservedly so,'' Scudamore said of the Premier League's top scorer last season.
''He's great to have but an accident waiting to happen, and if you spend your time trying to promote what's good about the Premier League, you're always waiting for the next thing to come along.''
Scudamore said the latest biting incident involving Suarez, which happened during Uruguay's World Cup group game against Italy, ''clearly reflected on Liverpool as one of our great clubs. And it reflected on us (the Premier League).''
Though all of Suarez's many controversies have been the result of his own decisions rather than mere accidents, Scudamore's point is still clear. Suarez brought bad publicity and he doesn't feel that any publicity is good publicity. It's possible that Scudamore is just saying this as damage control after one of the most talented players in the world has left his league, but being corporate friendly trumps all else for the Premier League. That's been made clear by the league's sanitized matchday experience, exorbitant prices, and Noah's ark of sponsorships and partnerships. But cannibalism and racial abuse aren't exactly corporate friendly (sexism apparently isn't a problem, though).
So when Suarez arrived in Barcelona, it's not difficult to imagine Scudamore popping open a bottle of official Premier League champagne, loosening his collar and breathing a sigh of relief...just before remember that Joey Barton is now back in the league.
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