Liverpool and Luis Suarez are protesting, but it seems to me the best they can get out of this situation is the sentence lessened. The FA hit Suarez with an 8 match ban plus a £40,000 fine for racially abusing Patrice Evra in the Liverpoo – Manchester United match from two months ago.
The news took Liverpool, Dalglish and Suarez by surprise. The verdict and the severity of the punishment weren’t expected at all among the Anfield crew, and the club went immediately into extreme counter attack mode, still defending the player that has denied the allegations from day 1.
Kenny Dalglish has been Suarez’ fiercest defender since the allegations came up from Evra on French Television. Suarez and the club can appeal within the next 14 days, and the ban won’t come into action until the appeal is sorted out. The club released the following statement - We look forward to the publication of the Commission’s Judgment. We will study the detailed reasons of the Commission once they become available, but reserve our right to appeal or take any other course of action we feel appropriate with regards to this situation.
We find it extraordinary that Luis can be found guilty on the word of Patrice Evra alone when no-one else on the field of play – including Evra’s own Manchester United teammates and all the match officials – heard the alleged conversation between the two players in a crowded Kop goalmouth while a corner kick was about to be taken.
The Club takes extremely seriously the fight against all forms of discrimination and has a long and successful track record in work relating to anti-racist activity and social inclusion. We remain committed to this ideal and equality for all, irrespective of a person’s background.
LFC considers racism in any form to be unacceptable – without compromise. It is our strong held belief, having gone over the facts of the case, that Luis Suarez did not commit any racist act. It is also our opinion that the accusation by this particular player was not credible – certainly no more credible than his prior unfounded accusations.
It is key to note that Patrice Evra himself in his written statement in this case said ‘I don’t think that Luis Suarez is racist’. The FA in their opening remarks accepted that Luis Suarez was not racist. Luis himself is of a mixed race family background as his grandfather was black. He has been personally involved since the 2010 World Cup in a charitable project which uses sport to encourage solidarity amongst people of different backgrounds with the central theme that the colour of a person’s skin does not matter; they can all play together as a team.
He has played with black players and mixed with their families whilst with the Uruguay national side and was captain at Ajax Amsterdam of a team with a proud multi-cultural profile, many of whom became good friends. It seems incredible to us that a player of mixed heritage should be accused and found guilty in the way he has based on the evidence presented. We do not recognise the way in which Luis Suarez has been characterised.
It appears to us that the FA were determined to bring charges against Luis Suarez, even before interviewing him at the beginning of November. Nothing we have heard in the course of the hearing has changed our view that Luis Suarez is innocent of the charges brought against him and we will provide Luis with whatever support he now needs to clear his name.
We would also like to know when the FA intend to charge Patrice Evra with making abusive remarks to an opponent after he admitted himself in his evidence to insulting Luis Suarez in Spanish in the most objectionable of terms. Luis, to his credit, actually told the FA he had not heard the insult.
Racism is a foul and disgusting phenomenon. It should be rooted out and not be taken lightly. The problem with this whole case is it seems like word to mouth and Evra’s word against Suarez’ word. With the John Terry – Anton Ferdinand case also under investigation, it seems the FA wanted to handle this severely, and make an example of Suarez.
Liverpool and Dalglish are accusing the FA of a stitch-up, and of using Suarez to make a fierce stand against racism in the game. Racial abuse cannot be tolerated, but is Suarez actually to blame, or was this all just a witch-hunt? I guess it depends on which side of the fence you are. Liverpool, and their manager, are sticking by their player, going head to head against the FA.
They are also demanding Evra to be punished as well, as the Frenchman admitted he also verbally abused Suarez during the match. The chicken and the egg, two players trying to get into each others head, who knows. The FA are right in making a hard stand against racism that pops up with its ugly head every time there’s some sort of consensus that it’s gone from the sport. Problem is, should Luis Suarez actually be put on the cross, or is he truly getting the raw end of the deal?