Premier League chief glad to see back of Suarez
LONDON (AP) — Luis Suarez damaged the reputation of English football with his serial offending and his departure to the Spanish league is not being mourned, the head of the Premier League said on Wednesday.
“He’s done his time here ... I can’t say I’m sorry to see him go,” was the frank assessment of Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the world’s most lucrative league, about one of the best players to have played in England’s top division.
Liverpool sold Suarez to Barcelona for $130 million in July, soon after the player was given a four-month worldwide ban for biting an opponent at the World Cup.
The Uruguay international previously served two long suspensions for the same offense, once in the Premier League after biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in April 2013, and was banned in 2011 for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra during a league match.
“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).”
Suarez’s departure to La Liga, however, leaves English football without its best player from last season. The same happened the previous summer, when Gareth Bale joined Real Madrid from Tottenham for a world-record fee of 100 million euros (then $132 million).
In Bale, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and now Suarez, and new Madrid signings James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos, Spain undoubtedly has most of the world’s best players in its league.
But Scudamore says the competitiveness of the Premier League as a whole makes it stand out globally.
“That to me is more important in many ways, that the matches are competitive,” said Scudamore, speaking at the Premier League’s season launch. “We’ve got enough stars, and we don’t need absolutely every world megastar name to make this a successful league.
“There are more teams being talked about as able to win our title than you’ll ever hear discussed in Spain. That makes us more interesting around the world. We have a much bigger global appeal than they do currently.”