Eamon Dunphy believes the ban handed down to Luis Suarez was fair but criticised the hypocrisy of people in the game who called for lengthy bans for the Uruguyan for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini.
The RTÉ analyst also highlighted the treatment given to Zinedine Zidane following his infamous headbutt in 2006, claiming he’d rather be bitten than head butted, while also lamenting the “cheating that goes on and is endemic to soccer now".
Suarez has been banned from "all football related activities" for four months - and a total of nine Uruguay games - meaning he will be absent for the first nine games of Liverpool's Premier League season, a League Cup tie and their first three Champions League group stage games. He has also been fined 100,000 Swiss francs (€82,000).
Dunphy, speaking on RTÉ Two, said: “I think when you consider the ban, you’ve got to consider who was handing it out – FIFA.
“You’ve got to consider the pressures on them from the media, from former players commenting, from the game in general – the sense of shock about biting which is a very unusual offence – the sponsors and FIFA’s own reputation, which is in shreds because of alleged corruption.
“So there was a lot of pressure on them and there were a lot of people calling for lifetime bans, one-year bans, two-year bans.
“Happily, all that was put to one side and what they’ve come up with means he won’t play international football for a couple of years but it also affects Liverpool Football Club for the first couple of months next season.
“I think it’s fair but I would have preferred a massive financial fine, suspension from this World Cup and let him start again subject to having psychiatric treatment to see if they can cure the problem.
“The offence of biting in my view is shocking, but when you think it through, I’d rather be bitten by Luis Suarez than have my leg broken or my nose smashed."
"I’d rather be bitten by Luis Suarez than have my leg broken"
He continued. “Zinedine Zidane, one of the most respected players of all time, headbutted an opponent in the 2006 World Cup – he got a three match ban – and he had form, he’d headbutted people on the pitch before as Suarez has form for this.
“A headbutt? I’d rather have a bite. So I think I’ve been distressed watching television, seeing people I know to be blackguards on the football field all their career expressing shock.
"But no shock when legs are broken, no shock when noses are broken, no shock at cheating that goes on and is endemic to soccer now.
“So on the scale of things, whilst this is most unusual and therefore harder to deal with, because it’s unprecedented, I want to see Suarez playing football. I don’t want his career ruined because of this kink in his personality.
“All things considered, I can live with a four-month ban. But I hate with a passion the hypocrisy of people in the game who never have any problem with someone’s career being ended, as Richie’s [Sadlier] was, going over the top of the ball and breaking them up.”