LOS ANGELES: Henry Romero received a six-game ban and Darwin Ceren for three on Saturday for “anti-sporting” behavior in a CONCACAF Gold Cup match in which they bit US players.
Los Cuscatlecos defender Romero bit Jozy Altidore on the back in El Salvador’s 2-0 Gold Cup quarter-final loss to the United States and also grabbed the US forward’s nipple and twisted it.
Midfielder Ceren, who plays for Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes, bit Omar Gonzalez during the contest.
CONCACAF’s disciplinary committee announced the sanctions shortly before the United States’ semi-final clash against Costa Rica kicked off on Saturday in Dallas.
CONCACAF, which did not specify the biting incidents in their announcement, said the suspensions would affect only “official matches.
El Salvador have already been eliminated from 2018 World Cup qualifying.
Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez was suspended three times for bites: seven Dutch league matches in 2010 (PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal), 10 games in England in 2013 (Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic) and four months and nine international matches (Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during the 2014 World Cup).
“That set the precedent, and everything else will be longer than that,” predicted McManaman, a former Liverpool and England star who now is an analyst for ESPN and BT Sport. “It’s incredible. It’s been so unusual. We’ve had a raft of them in the last four to five years. Beforehand, you can’t remember anything like that going on.”
Romero also twisted Altidore’s nipple during the jostling ahead of a corner kick. While the Americans had stinging criticism for the behavior, U.S. coach Bruce Arena said he couldn’t fault Canadian referee Drew Fischer, a Major League Soccer regular, for not noticing the incidents away from the ball ahead of restarts.
Retired Premier League referee Peter Walton, now general manager of the Professional Referee Organization that oversees on-field officials in the U.S. and Canada, said video technology can be a solution. FIFA experimented with Video Assistant Referees during this year’s Confederations Cup and Under-20 World Cup.
“Part of the protocol for the VAR is that they can identify serious missed incidents from the referee,” he said. “Acts of violent conduct should be and ought to be picked up on VAR and then the information would be given to the referee to adjudicate.”