Liverpool accept Suarez ban but remarks keep debate alive


NEWS:LIVERPOOL WILL not appeal against Luis Suarez’s eight-match ban for calling Patrice Evra “negro”. The decision was followed by a remarkable and inflammatory statement from Anfield accusing the Manchester United defender of in effect making up his story and the FA of putting together a “highly subjective” case in favour of the Frenchman.

Rejecting the findings of the independent commission and questioning in forcible terms why Evra was “deemed to be credible”, Liverpool made it clear they believe Suarez has become the highest-profile player to be banned for race-related insults because of “an accusation that was ultimately unsubstantiated”.

Suarez then released his own statement in which he admitted using the word “negro” but made it clear that he did not accept the commission’s decision that, said aggressively, it was unacceptable.

“In my country negro is a word we use commonly, a word which doesn’t show any lack of respect and is even less so a form of racist abuse,” the Uruguayan said. “Based on this, everything which has been said so far is totally false.”

The commission had used linguistic experts to examine the nuances of the Spanish language before concluding that Suarez’s defence was “unsustainable and simply incredible” given that he and Evra had been arguing at the time. Although clearing him of being a racist, they believed Evra’s version of events.

His ban will take him to February when, by a quirk of the fixture list, one of his first matches back will be the trip to Old Trafford on February 11th, but the damage that has been caused to Liverpool’s relationship with the FA may take far longer to heal.

“The FA panel has damaged the reputation of one the Premier League’s best players, deciding he should be punished and banned for perhaps a quarter of a season,” Liverpool’s statement said. “This case has also provided a template in which a club’s rival can bring about a significant ban for a top player without anything beyond an accusation.”

Liverpool’s case is that Evra made up the accusations out of spite, and Suarez’s statement made it even clearer that there will never be any form of public apology. “Never – I repeat, never – have I had any racial problem with a team-mate or individual who was of a different race or colour to mine. Never. I am very upset by all the things which have been said during the last few weeks about me, all of them being very far from the truth. But above all I’m very upset at feeling so powerless whilst being accused of something I did not, nor would not, ever do.

“I will carry out the suspension with the resignation of someone who hasn’t done anything wrong and who feels extremely upset by the events. I do feel sorry for the fans and for my team-mates, whom I will not be able to help during the next month.

“We stand alongside Luis Suarez as this football club has always done for people we respect and appreciate for their efforts,” the manager, Kenny Dalglish, said. “The club has made quite a comprehensive statement. Luis has made a brilliant statement, so we’ll stand right beside him. That’s best left now before I get myself in trouble.” Guardian Service