Monday 19 March 2018

Luis Suarez was 'an accident waiting to happen'

Scudamore: I'm not sorry to see him go

Suarez after biting Cheillini during the World Cup
Suarez after biting Cheillini during the World Cup

Richard Scudamore, the Premier League chief executive, has launched an extraordinary attack on Luis Suarez claiming the former Liverpool striker was "an accident waiting to happen" and claiming he was not sorry to see the Uruguayan leave for Barcelona in a £75 million deal.

Suarez joined Barcelona last month having been banned from all football activity for four months by Fifa for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during the World Cup Group D match in June.

The 27-year-old was previously banned for 10 games for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic and eight games for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.

"I think probably the time had come [for him to leave]," said Scudamore.

"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.

"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.

"And this one in the summer, although it was with Uruguay, although it didn't directly involve the Premier League, clearly it reflected on Liverpool as one of our great clubs.

"And it reflected on us. He's done his time here, but I can't say I'm sorry to see him go. I think it was good business on a number of levels from Liverpool to move Suarez on."

Scudamore, speaking at the launch of the 2014-15 Premier League season, said he was not worried by "super clubs" Real Madrid and Barcelona cleaning up in the transfer market as he believes the competition in English football makes it a more attractive product than the Spanish game, regardless of the world stars on show in the Primera Division.

Real Madrid have brought in James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos this summer, following impressive World Cup performances. Barcelona have also strengthened, most notably by signing Suarez from Liverpool, who was top scorer in the English top flight last term.

Indeed the last two Premier League Footballers of the Year, Suarez and Gareth Bale, have both departed for La Liga within weeks of winning their award.

Asked how the English game might compete with Spain, Scudamore said: "In one sense, you don't.

"The way the economics of Spanish football work, you've got two clubs who, with the way they sell their television rights, they're allowed to sell their own, and they clean up and they make more money than any of our clubs do.

"Our clubs, even our biggest clubs, have stuck with the collective which means we have a collective selling of TV rights. It's then distributed, and therefore every club has a chance to compete.

"Whilst they do have two super clubs that have always attracted some of the world's top talent – remember (Zinedine) Zidane didn't come here, Luis Figo didn't come here – we have the most competitive league."

Scudamore added on BBC Radio 5 Live: "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."

Online Editors

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