RIO DE JANEIRO – After several days of deliberations, an independent panel has decided that Uruguay striker Luis Suarez must wear a so-called “Hannibal Lecter” face mask for all future World Cup matches after Suarez allegedly bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini during Tuesday’s contest against Italy.
“There’s obviously a history here,” said panel chairman Claudio Sulsar, referring to the two previous bans for biting when Suarez played for Liverpool in the Premier League.
“We’re basically balancing interests. There wasn’t a severe injury, so we felt Suarez deserved to stay on the pitch. On the other hand, we don’t want the French and other future opponents to become snacks.”
The mask, of course, became infamous when donned by Anthony Hopkins in “Silence of the Lambs,” when he offered his memorable cinematic take on serial killer cum human epicure “Hannibal the Cannibal” Lecter.
“The mask has been tested,” said Sulsar, who declined to describe the test methodology. “Suarez will be uncomfortable, but safe. He may frighten women and small children watching the match in HD, but other than that we expect everything will be fine.”
The announcement was made during a brief but feisty press conferences that featured questions about the odds of a future bite after a Swedish bettor reportedly cashed in on the incident to the tune of 1,200 pounds.
Following that question, an obviously agitated Sulsar stomped off the podium scowling when a waggish reporter referenced a notorious Hopkins quote from the movie, asking if Uruguay’s pre-game meal would include “fava beans and a nice chianti.”