Luis Suarez’s biting is “an impulse response” he can’t control says sports psychologist

The doctor who predicted the Uruguayan footballer would bite again says “Suarez is a biter” and cannot help it

The psychologist who predicted last year that Luis Suarez would bite again says the Uruguayan has “a flawed character” that makes him unable to control his reactions in intense emotional situations.


Dr Tom Fawcett, a sports psychologist at the University of Salford, said in 2013 after Suarez bit Branislav Ivanovic in a Premier League game, that the response was “in the man”, and that he believed “in five years’ time if there was a certain nerve hit or chord rung with Suarez in a different situation he would react in the same way.”

Now it appears he could be proved right, after Suarez was accused of biting a player for the third time in his career during Tuesday’s World Cup game against Italy.

After the most recent incident, Dr Fawcett told BBC News, “In Luis Suarez’s situation I’m afraid he’s got a flawed character. He’s very vulnerable to high-intense emotional situations, particularly in high level football, and he’s got an inability to control or self-regulate his responses.”

The psychologist continued: “It’s an impulse response, it’s an absence of thought when he does it. It’s basically is a negative behaviour response to his anger, annoyance, frustration, irritability etc. It’s his only outlet that he has. Other players elbow people, kick people, head-butt people. Suarez is a biter.”

Former Liverpool striker and talkSPORT presenter Stan Collymore has said on Twitter that he believes Suarez needs counselling to deal with the reaction.

Suarez was handed an eight-match Premier League ban in 2013 after biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic. He had already served a seven-match ban in 2010 after biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal while he was playing for Ajax.

Now Fifa has opened disciplinary proceedings after the Uruguay striker appeared to bite Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini in a World Cup group game.


Dr Fawcett said that Suarez does not consider the consequences of his actions when he is in the middle of a game. “These are immediate open play repsonses that he responds in a split second to,” he said. “He doesn’t look at the responses and the consequences until the final whistle has gone. And that’s where he is now.”