A SCOTS criminologist has claimed that disgraced footballer Luis Suarez could be demonstrating a “classic criminological pattern” in his tendency to bite other players.
Criminologist Professor David Wilson, a serial killer expert and regular on TV crime shows, said Suarez could be suffering from odaxelagnia – gaining pleasure from biting another person.
The incident is under investigation by the sport’s world governing body Fifa after the Liverpool FC player appeared to bite Italian footballer Giorgio Chiellini’s shoulder during a World Cup match between his national side of Uruguay and Italy on Tuesday.
It is the third time Suarez has apparently bitten opponents –having previously faced lengthy bans.
The criminologist – who was born in Clackmannanshire and graduated at the University of Glasgow – now works at Birmingham City University.
He said: “Why bite? Odaxelagnia is a paraphilia; a mild form of sadism. It can be used to excite or ‘mark’ a partner – a physical expression of dominance.”
The first occasion Suarez’s biting habit became apparent was in November 2010 when he played for Ajax and he bit PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal on the shoulder, earning himself the nickname the “Cannibal of Ajax”. He was suspended for seven league games.
In April last year he was banned for ten games by the Football Association when he was playing for Liverpool and bit Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in a Premier League game.
Prof Wilson, one-time presenter of BBC’s The Crime Squad and a former prison governor, added: “The time gap between Suarez biting incidents is following the classic criminological pattern – 28 months between the first and second incidents, 15 months second or third.
“I teach my students the best indication of future behaviour is past behaviour. It seems to hold true for Luis Suarez and biting opponents.”
Meanwhile, a sports psychologist claimed the footballer is experiencing a flashback to something humiliating in his past when he bites a fellow player.
Football psychologist Philip Johnson, who has worked at AS Monaco for the past two seasons, said the player’s biting is virtually unique in football – although added that it was more common on the rugby field.
He said: “I see it as a sport trauma in the brain.
“It’s not life threatening like post traumatic stress disorder but has come out of personal disappointment, embarrassment and humiliation.
“When a trauma like this takes place it’s physically held in the body and interferes with the right hemisphere of the brain that controls emotions.”
He added: “He’s still a volatile character, but he has had it under control during a superb season at Liverpool.
“But the biting behaviour is the thin end of the wedge of other emotions that are not under control.
“Wayne Rooney was volatile but Alex Ferguson saw it as part of the aggression he needed to succeed.
“But when it starts negatively impacting on your career you have to do something.”
He added: “The problem is we have no idea why Suarez bites. This reaction is extremely rare in football. It’s more common in rugby and wrestling.”
In 2005, then-director general of the BBC, Mark Thompson, was accused of biting by a junior member of staff when he was editor of the Nine O’Clock News 17 years earlier.