Luis Suarez did not cheat according to FIFA's laws book

Did Luis Suarez cheat when he "deliberately" hand touched the jabulani ball during the last minute of Ghana versus Uruguay World Cup 2010 game at Soccer City Stadium?

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FIFA's Laws of the game 2009/2010 booklet is freely available on the web for anyone to read.

My objective is to use it as a reference to determine as religiously as I can if one can call Luis Suarez a cheater or not.

The FIFA's law book among other things describes the actions the referee must take when confronted by an offence of a rule. Each offence has its associated penalty and the referee mandate is to apply it according to the law book.

In what follows, I have copied and pasted directly from the FIFA Law booklet what relates to this case:

Penalty Kick

A penalty kick is awarded against a team that commits one of the ten offences
for which a direct free kick is awarded, inside its own penalty area and while
the ball is in play.

Direct Free Kick

A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any
of the following seven offences in a manner considered by the referee to be
careless, reckless or using excessive force:
• kicks or attempts to kick an opponent
• trips or attempts to trip an opponent
• jumps at an opponent
• charges an opponent
• strikes or attempts to strike an opponent
• pushes an opponent
• tackles an opponent

A direct free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any
of the following three offences:

• holds an opponent
• spits at an opponent
handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper within his own penalty area)


Sending-off Offences
A player, substitute or substituted player is sent off if he commits any of the
following seven offences:

• serious foul play
• violent conduct
• spitting at an opponent or any other person
denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (this does not apply to a goalkeeper within his own penalty area)
• denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player’s goal by an offence punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick
• using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures
• receiving a second caution in the same match

Therefore Luis Suarez committed two offences:

• handles the ball deliberately
• denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball

and the FIFA law book says that as a result a penalty kick be awarded to Ghana and Luis Suarez be sent-off. Period.

Cheating by definition implies violating accepted standards of the game. Luis Suarez did not violate any standard, but committed two offences clearly specified in the FIFA laws booklet for which his team and him were punished accordingly.

Therefore, one can say that those who called him a cheater are either ignorant of the rules of soccer, or worse, are plain dishonest manipulators, since if Luis Suarez is called a cheater for what he did, then any player committing any offence of a rule of the FIFA "Laws of the Game" book could as well and rightfully so be called a cheater, something that is a non-sense.

Whether the "Laws of the Game" book is felt to be fair in the way it treats the Luis Suarez case, it's really another issue. While the FIFA laws book is in place, it is the only source one can honestly use to determine the answer to the posed question which cannot seriously in my opinion be based on the feelings of anyone.