The four Uruguayan players at the centre of the ‘incredibly ugly’ scenes which followed their elimination from the World Cup in Qatar earlier this month are now reportedly facing the prospect of 10-15 match suspensions for club and country as a result of their ‘unacceptable’ actions.
Edinson Cavani, Jose Maria Giménez, Diego Godin and Fernando Muslera are the foursome in danger of facing the wrath from FIFA following their role in the controversial incident.
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Uruguay crashed out of the World Cup in the group stages, finishing third, level on points with South Korea, despite winning their last game 2-0 against Ghana.
The Asian side shocked the world when they progressed to the knockout stages on goal difference courtesy of upsetting Portugal 2-1 in their final group game, leaving them tied on points with Group H favourite’s Uruguay, but advancing after scoring two more goals than their South American rivals throughout the group stages.
After 90 minutes of heated action against fierce rivals Ghana, who they knocked out of the 2010 World Cup in a contoversial quarter-final decided by Luis Suarez’ infamous ‘Hand of God 2’ moment, tensions boiled over after the full-time whistle as ugly scenes unfolded when Uruguay players were captured getting in the face of match officials and even following one down the tunnel.
The four players now must await sanction from FIFA after being found in breach of articles 11 and 12 of the governing body’s disciplinary code, according to a report by Spanish media outlet AS. The punishment for such a breach in the FIFA disciplinary rulebook is stated as “the prohibition of carrying out activities related to football for at least six months”, in what would be a monumental blow to the Uruguayans.
“It was bad scenes afterwards,” former Socceroo Craig Foster said on SBS post-game.
“There’s no need for the Uruguayan players to be confronting the referee and pushing and shoving. That stuff is unacceptable, they shouldn’t be doing it.”
The quartet appear set to face a nervous wait as the final decision of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee will not be known until the end of February and there’s a risk that the players could be banned from playing for their clubs, as well as their countries as a result.
Reports also suggest that Giménez is accused of hitting a FIFA official, while Cavani reportedly threw the VAR monitor to the ground on the way to the changing room tunnel in the aftermath of the incident.
The serious nature of the acts connected with Giménez and Cavani in particular could lead to the FIFA Committee to characterise them as inciting public “hate or violence”, meaning the duo could face up to six months on the sidelines.
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35-year-old Cavani has been a key figure for his country across his 136 caps, having scored 58 goals and represented his country at four World Cups. The veteran striker currently plies his trade with Valencia, having joined the Spanish club from Manchester United this past northern-hemisphere summer.
Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone will be sweating on the availability of Giménez in particular, as the centre-back is certainly a key player for the Spanish side and would be sorely missed as they look to look to improve their form to solidify their top four position in La Liga. The 27-year-old is also key for his country, having earned 81 caps since his debut in 2013.
36-year-old keeper Muslera has been a key figure for his country, making 133 caps, having made his name at club side Galatasaray – having joined the Turkish giants in 2011 from Lazio and been club captain since 2020.
Lastly, Uruguay captain Godin – having made 161 appearances since his debut in 2005 – is still key for his country despite being 36 year’s old. The Uruguayan legend has been a top defender in Europe for years and was influential in Atletico’s rise under Simeone in the early 2010’s, but currently plays his club football with Vélez Sarsfield in the Argentinian first division.
Given that Cavani, Muslera and Godin are all in the twighlight of their careers, they will be hoping to escape what would be a severe punishment when the outcome of FIFA’s decision is handed down in February.
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