Luis Suarez’ evidence? Unreliable according to the FA. Well, it was more of a word against word case anyway, but the English FA went with Patrice Evra from day 1, and as more and more information unfolded in front of the judiciaries, it was clear Liverpool’s backing of their Uruguayan striker wouldn’t hold.
The summary of the 115-page report left no room for any doubt as to who comes out on top in this case – Mr Evra was a credible witness. He gave his evidence in a calm, composed and clear way. It was, for the most part, consistent, although both he and Mr Suarez were understandably unable to remember every detail of the exchanges between them.
Mr Suarez’s evidence was unreliable in relation to matters of critical importance. It was, in part, inconsistent with the contemporaneous evidence, especially the video footage. For example, Mr Suarez said that he pinched Mr Evra’s skin in an attempt to defuse the situation. He also said that his use of the word ‘negro’ to address Mr Evra was conciliatory and friendly. We rejected that evidence.
To describe his own behaviour in that way was unsustainable and simply incredible given that the players were engaged in an acrimonious argument. That this was put forward by Mr Suarez was surprising and seriously undermined the reliability of his evidence on other matters. There were also inconsistencies between his accounts given at different times as to what happened.
There was also new video evidence, not released to the public, that according to sources, showed Suarez using racial abuse against Evra during an argument around the corner flag. The referee stated he saw obviously there was some heated discussion going on. Ryan Giggs and Dirk Kuyt were also among those who testified. A Latin expert for South American culture was also among those involved in the report.
Suarez claimed that Negrito and Negro have a different meaning in South America, not such a negative one as it is in the rest of the world. That sounded like a bad spin of things, which crashed and burned for the striker, who hasn’t begun serving his 8 match ban yet, seating out the win over Newcastle due to another case of bad blook and a finger between him and Fulham fans.
I don’t know why Suarez got the ban this time, because he certainly isn’t the first player to show more than discontent with unfriendly banter from opposition fans, but it seems the FA have flagged him and Liverpool for their standing up to the racial allegations. The club seemed certain to appeal the FA’s decision before the report was brought to light, now things may change a bit.
The FA, unlike some opinions up in FIFA, cracks down on anything that has to do with racism in the harshest manner. It took them too much time to come to a decision, over two months, in a matter that could have been sorted in a few days and not make this decision feel like it’s not completely coming from a disciplinary and educational stand point but also from some sort of personal interests that have gotten in the way.
Luis Suarez is a marked man now, more than ever before. Maybe an 8 match ban will take the heat off him as he spends his time sulking in the stands.