A minor league player in Germany who bit off part of the nose of an opponent faces a ban of up to eight years, but his coach has told ESPN FC he will not be banned from the club -- and even compared the situation to that of Luis Suarez and Giorgio Chiellini during the 2014 World Cup.
The incident occurred in a Kreisliga B game on Sunday between SV Preussen Eiberg and ESG 99/06 II. Neither the offender nor the victim can be named because of German privacy laws.
Under regional association rules, the Eiberg player could face a ban of anything between six weeks and eight years if the the local sports court determines the incident to be serious enough.
In consultation with the local association, Eiberg have opted to not expel the player from the club to ensure the court can deliver the verdict.
"It's crucial he still is a member of the club," Lothar Dittert, the court's chair, told ESPN.
Coach Thomas Cichon a former Bundesliga player at Cologne, said the player will not be dropped but will be sanctioned, and he hopes the court's ruling is lenient.
"You must differentiate between a human being and a player," Cichon said. "Everybody must get a second chance."
The incident has some similarities to Uruguay forward Suarez, who bit Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during the 2014 World Cup. Suarez served a nine-match ban and was prohibited from any football-related activity for four months.
"Luis Suarez still plays for the national team, for his club," Cichon said. "Sure, we are on a different level here, but we must not make things bigger than they are."
Essen police told ESPN they were called to the ground on Sunday and an actual bodily harm charge was filed at the scene.
The victim underwent surgery at a local hospital and the offender is awaiting punishment by the court, with the date for the hearing set on Oct. 30, Dittert said.
A source close to the victim told ESPN that he is making progress following the incident.