S'porean on panel that decided Suarez's fate

S'porean on panel that decided Suarez's fate

Colourful managers like Miguel Herrera, Louis van Gaal and Luiz Felipe Scolari continue to intrigue with their touchline antics and quotable quips.

They have all been in demand at the 2014 World Cup Finals in Brazil, along with a clutch of Fifa officials, after the latest developments.

For 48 hours, members of the Fifa disciplinary committee (FDC), which includes Singaporean lawyer Lim Kia Tong, were huddled together deliberating an incident involving Uruguay superstar Luis Suarez, after the Liverpool striker appeared to bite Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during a crucial Group D match on Tuesday.

In news that would have broken the hearts of Uruguay's fans, the committee announced yesterday that the 27-year-old was found guilty and banned for four months from all football-related activities, suspended from nine official matches and fined 100,000 Swiss francs (S$139,782).

Speaking to The New Paper after the announcement, Lim said: "In my personal capacity, I must say that biting has absolutely no place in the Beautiful Game of football that is played by millions and watched by billions."

Lim, 60, one of four vice-presidents at the Football Association of Singapore, explained the function of the disciplinary committee.

"It is a very challenging job. The panel acts like judges of a court. We examine the available evidence in connection to any violation and we interpret the relevant provision of the regulations in question to determine whether there is a violation," he said.

DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES

"In this regard, it is very interesting because of the big panel made up of people of different professions, legal or otherwise.

Sometimes the debates can bring out different perspectives."

While the FDC will decide whether to impose further sanctions like additional bans or fines to add to red-card suspensions, they don't just deal with such incidents.

Lim explained that the FDC is authorised to sanction any breach of Fifa regulations which does not come under the jurisdiction of other independent bodies like the 2014 Fifa World Cup Brazil Regulations, the Equipment Regulations and the Fifa Stadium Safety and Security Regulations.

It also looks at serious infringements which have escaped the attention of match officials, such as the Suarez biting incident.

This is Lim's first deployment at a World Cup as deputy chairman of the FDC since his appointment last year.

Stationed in Rio de Janeiro, Lim gets to catch matches at the iconic Maracana Stadium if the FDC doesn't have a hearing on game days.

He feels the authorities have done well to make it a generally safe World Cup, so far.

"On match days when Brazil are playing, shops will be closed and there are easily 70,000 or more people, mostly dressed up in the famous yellow, who will congregate at the beach to watch the match on a giant screen," he said.

"Whenever Brazil score, they will burst into roars and cheers accompanied by the sounds from the musical horns.

"It feels safe especially at the Copacabana area. There is visible police presence and security personnel throughout the day and into the night."

davidlee@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 27, 2014.
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