Luis Suarez of Liverpool tussles for posesssion with Patrice Evra of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Liverpool Will Not Appeal Luis Suarez Suspension, Which Begins Tuesday Night

The FA has banned Liverpool striker Luis Suarez for 8 games and fined him £40,000. Liverpool will not appeal and has issues a strongly-worded statement expressing disagreement with the FA's findings.

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Liverpool FC Issue Statement On Luis Suarez Suspension

Following the news that Luis Suarez and Liverpool would not appeal the eight-game suspension handed down to him for the racist abuse of Patrice Evra, Liverpool FC issued a statement on the matter. They begin by asserting that they disagree with the findings of the FA and that they believe that the case sets a dangerous precedent. They then reiterate their position that Luis Suarez is not a racist before moving on to conclude that they must let the case go away so that the club and the whole of English football can keep up the fight against racism in the sport.

Here is an excerpt from that statement:

It is our strongly held conviction that the Football Association and the panel it selected constructed a highly subjective case against Luis Suarez based on an accusation that was ultimately unsubstantiated.

The FA and the panel chose to consistently and methodically accept and embrace arguments leading to a set of conclusions that found Mr. Suarez to "probably" be guilty while in the same manner deciding to completely dismiss the testimony that countered their overall suppositions.

The statement can be found in full at the official website of Liverpool FC.

For more, check in with our two Liverpool blogs, Anfield Asylum and The Offside Liverpool.


Luis Suarez Will Not Appeal Misconduct Charge, Eight-Game Suspension Starts Against Manchester City

The FA has announced that Luis Suarez and Liverpool FC will not be appealing his misconduct charge for the racial abuse of Patrice Evra. This means that Suarez's suspension begins on Tuesday night, when Liverpool take on Manchester City. Suarez is suspended for eight games, and has been fined £40,000.

Though the FA released this news less than two hours before the kickoff of the Liverpool - Manchester City match, it's likely that Kenny Dalglish has been aware of this for quite some time and that Suarez was never in his plans for the match. Andy Carroll will almost certainly start again, though it will be interesting to see what other adjustments Kenny Dalglish makes.

During his lengthy ban, Suarez will miss a key clash against Tottenham Hotspur. If Liverpool advance in the FA Cup, he will also miss a match against rivals Manchester United. Liverpool currently sit in sixth place in the Premier League.

For more, check in with our two Liverpool blogs, Anfield Asylum and The Offside Liverpool.


FA Report Released On Luis Suarez Racism Charge

This post contains accounts of events that include strong language and a racial slur.

Luis Suarez' eight-match ban for what the FA concluded was racial abuse of Patrice Evra is still within its window for appeal, but new details on the incident emerged on Saturday, when the FA released a 115-page report on Suarez' alleged racial abuse (PDF) that delves into the facts of the case.

The event at the crux of the Suarez maelstrom is a dispute that occurred while Evra marked Suarez during a Steven Gerrard corner kick in an October 11 game at Anfield. The FA and Suarez offer slightly different versions of the event as the FA sided with Evra, while calling Suarez "unreliable".

This is the FA's, which substantially draws on testimony by Evra:

In the goalmouth, Mr Evra and Mr Suarez spoke to each other in Spanish. Mr Evra asked Mr Suarez why he had kicked him, referring to the foul five minutes previously. Mr Suarez replied "Porque tu eres negro", meaning "Because you are black". Mr Evra then said to Mr Suarez "say it to me again, I’m going to punch you". Mr Suarez replied "No hablo con los negros", meaning "I don't speak to blacks". Mr Evra continued by saying that he now thought he was going to punch Mr Suarez. Mr Suarez replied "Dale, negro, negro, negro", which meant "okay, blackie, blackie, blackie". As Mr Suarez said this, he reached out to touch Mr Evra's arm, gesturing at his skin. Mr Kuyt then intervened. When the referee blew his whistle and called the players over to him shortly after the exchanges in the goalmouth, Mr Evra said to the referee "ref, ref, he just called me a fucking black".

Mr Evra said that after Mr Suarez said "I don't speak to blacks", he (Mr Evra) said "Ahora te voy a dar realmente una porrada", which means "Okay, now I think I'm going to punch you". To this he says that Mr Suarez replied "Dale, negro...negro...negro". At the time, Mr Evra understood this to mean "Okay, nigger, nigger, nigger". He now says it means "Okay, blackie, blackie, blackie". The expert witnesses stated that the phrase "Dale, negro" can be understood as "Bring it on, blackie" or "do it, blackie" or "go ahead, blackie."

This is Suarez' account:

He agreed with Mr Evra that they spoke to each other in Spanish in the goalmouth. When Mr Evra asked why he had kicked him, Mr Suarez replied that it was a normal foul and shrugged his shoulders. Mr Evra then said that he was going to kick Mr Suarez, to which Mr Suarez told him to shut up. As Mr Kuyt was approaching, Mr Suarez touched Mr Evra's left arm in a pinching style movement. According to Mr Suarez, at no point in the goalmouth did he use the word "negro". When the referee blew his whistle to stop play, Mr Evra spoke to Mr Suarez and said (in English) "Don't touch me, South American". Mr Suarez replied "Por que, negro?". He says that he used the word "negro" in a way with which he was familiar from his upbringing in Uruguay. In this sense, Mr Suarez claimed, it is used as a noun and as a friendly form of address to people seen as black or brown-skinned (or even just blackhaired). Thus, it meant "Why, black?" Mr Suarez maintained that when he said "Por que, negro?" to Mr Evra, it was intended in a conciliatory and friendly way. Mr Suarez said this was the only time that he used the word "negro" in his exchanges with Mr Evra during the match.

But the FA also went to extraordinary lengths to discover and examine all the facts of the case, including the verification of the comment Evra says touched off the dispute within the box with linguistics experts.

Mr Evra stated that the goalmouth incident started when he addressed Mr Suarez, beginning with the phrase "Concha de tu hermana". According to the experts, the literal translation is "your sister's cunt" and it can be taken as a general swear word expressing anger, although the word "concha" is not as taboo as the English word "cunt". It is thus equivalent to "fucking hell" or "fuck me". If directed at someone in particular, it can also be understood as "[you] son of a bitch".

There is a lot more to the report, including accounts from a number of Suarez' Liverpool teammates and Evra's Manchester United squad, and a discussion of the mixture of Spanish and Portuguese that Manchester United's players use to make things more understandable on the pitch.

But one thing on which all parties seem to agree is that Suarez used "negro" to refer to Evra while otherwise insulting him, which was enough for the FA to conclude that Suarez' conduct was racially abusive, despite Suarez' protests that he was not aware that "negro" had other connotations.

The Charge against Mr Suarez was that he used insulting words which included a reference to Mr Evra's colour. We have found that Charge proved on the evidence and arguments put before us. The FA made clear that it did not contend that Mr Suarez acted as he did because he is a racist. Mr Evra said in his evidence that he did not think Mr Suarez is a racist. Mr Suarez said in evidence that he will not use the word "negro" on a football pitch in England in the future, and we believe that is his genuine and firm intention.

Suarez has until Tuesday, January 3 to appeal the FA's decision.


Luis Suarez To Appeal Against Length Of Ban

Luis Suarez is set to appeal the eight match ban handed down by the FA for racially abusing Patrice Evra, according to a statement from his lawyer. That Suarez will appeal comes as no surprise whatsoever considering the combative tone which Liverpool have taken following the FA's verdict - a rash press statement claiming injustice as well as messages of unconditional support for the Uruguay international from both club and teammates has made it rather clear where all of this is going.

Suarez can only appeal against the magnitude of the sentence rather than the independent tribunal's findings, meaning that even if said appeal was successful it would just mean a reduction in the length of the ban. Furthermore, if the FA finds the appeal to be 'trivial' they have the option of increasing the sentence beyond the original eight games, which could potentially see Suarez ruled out for most of the rest of the Premier League season.

It's unlikely that the appeal will be lodged until the fourteen days Liverpool are permitted to consider it have elapsed, as waiting will allow Suarez to feature against Manchester City, a match that they desperately need him available for, but once we get to mid-January, get ready to go through this whole circus again.


Liverpool's Infamous Luis Suarez Statement Masks A Legitimate Grievance

Beyond being insane, probably deluded, and rather poorly written, the real damage done by Liverpool's lunatic Luis Suarez statement is that it's completely destroyed any hope of a reasonable debate.


Luis Suarez And The Stupidly Rancid State Of Football

Liverpool's reaction to Luis Suarez's ban is staggeringly disgusting and needs to be called as such.


Liverpool Release Luis Suarez Statement, And It's A Doozy

Liverpool have released their official statement regarding Luis Suarez's eight-game ban for racism, and it would probably be safe to say that the club isn't taking losing their most effective striker very well at all. They're pulling out all the stops in demonstrating that Suarez couldn't possibly have been a racist, including that one of his grandfathers was black and that he has some black friends.

It's all pretty embarrassing and reads sort of like it was drafted by a rabid fan rather than a lawyer or a public relations guru. Did they fire their media folks, or did they all quit in despair? I mean, this is not the way to soften things up in preparation for an important appeal:

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.

Here are the salient points the statement addresses:

  1. Liverpool FC believe that there is no evidence other than Patrice Evra's word.
  2. Liverpool FC believe that Patrice Evra is untrustworthy.
  3. Liverpool FC believe that Luis Suarez is not racist because he himself is of mixed race and has black friends.
  4. Liverpool FC believe that The FA have always wanted to suspend Luis Suarez because they're mean.
  5. Liverpool FC believe that Patrice Evra should be suspended for being mean too.
  6. Liverpool FC believe that Luis Suarez is being punished for helping Uruguay knock Ghana out of the 2010 World Cup*.

*Ok, not really, but I suspect that's only because they forgot to put that in.

It's all a little bit incredibly odd, and it's hardly the sort of statement that's going to engender sympathy for Suarez. In criticising the FA like this they're probably doing far more damage than good, and they've convinced nobody other than those who already believed Suarez could do no wrong in the first place. Liverpool appear to have made a serious error of judgement on this one.


Luis Suarez Banned 8 Matches For Racist Abuse

Luis Suarez has been found guilty of the racist abuse of Patrice Evra after an FA investigation let by an Independent Regulatory Commission, and as a result the Liverpool striker has been suspended for eight matches and fined £40,000. Suarez, who was accused by Evra of directing abusive language in his direction more or less continually over the course of Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Manchester United in October, still has the right to appeal, so it would be a surprise if the ban actually ends up being eight games long, but the punishment is still incredibly hefty.

The FA's report makes it clear that there was a racist element to the insulting language Suarez employed:

1. Mr Suarez used insulting words towards Mr Evra during the match contrary to FA Rule E3(1);
2. the insulting words used by Mr Suarez included a reference to Mr Evra's colour within the meaning of Rule E3(2)

According to statement, any punishment will be suspended until an appeal is heard, and Suarez has fourteen days from the time he receives the written reasons for the verdict in which to launch one. Assuming that Liverpool hold off on appealing for as long as possible, it looks like he'll probably be able to play in Liverpool's next four league fixtures, but it'll be touch and go for their trip to Manchester City on January 3rd.

Further findings, including 'the findings of fact made by [the report], the reasons for its decision finding the charge proved and the reasons for the penalty' will be provided by the Independent Regulatory Commission in due course.


Luis Suarez Racism Hearing Begins

The FA hearing investigating Patrice Evra's claims that he was racially abused by Luis Suarez during Manchester United's away match against Liverpool in October has apparently begun in secret, according to The Guardian. Evra alleges that Suarez directed a racist word in his direction at least ten times over the course of United's 1-1 draw at Anfield, but with Suarez denying these claims and with precious little evidence either way, it's difficult to say either way.

The Guardian is claiming that "[Suarez's] defence is understood to focus on the nuances of the Spanish language and cultural differences, arguing that what he said would not be considered offensive for someone of his background in South America," and with that in mind this hearing is likely to take a while as the FA explores the fun and not-slippery-at-all ground of culturally acceptable racist abuse. While it's understood at Suarez faces a lengthy ban if found guilty, it's difficult how anything short of him hoisting himself by his own petard will see the Uruguayan convicted.


Luis Suarez Racism Charges Turn Intelligent Fans Into Blithering Idiots



Luis Suarez Charged By FA Over Alleged Racial Abuse

Just in case anyone had forgotten about the Luis Suarez/Patrice Evra racism situation what with all the fuss about John Terry and Anton Ferdinand (not to mention Sepp Blatter's drunken-elephant-like blundering into the whole affair), the FA are here to remind us all that it happened, and that they're looking into it:

The FA has today charged Liverpool’s Luis Suarez following an incident that occurred during the Liverpool versus Manchester United fixture at Anfield on 15 October 2011.

It is alleged that Suarez used abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Manchester United’s Patrice Evra contrary to FA rules. 

It is further alleged that this included a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Patrice Evra.

The FA will issue no further comment at this time.

It's important to remember that there's still a huge element of uncertainty in this case - the FA's language makes it clear that Suarez has not been found guilty (or innocent) as of right now. The investigation is still ongoing and nobody (except Suarez, obviously) can be sure what actually happened between the Liverpool striker and Evra.


Luis Suarez Racism Accusations Questionable - Liverpool Offside

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has found himself at the centre of a racism row after being accused of hurling abuse towards Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during the pair's meeting at Anfield on Saturday. With one party claiming racism and the other categorically denying any wrong doing, it's obviously impossible for outsiders to know one way or another. The truth will probably come out during the FA investigation, but for now, we simply don't know.

But, as Noel Chomyn from the Liverpool Offside has pointed out, Evra has an odd little history of being involved in racism spats. That's not to say that his word isn't to be trusted - after all, he's rarely been the one to come out and accuse people of racism in the past, so saying he's been falsely accusing folks would be misleading - but his background is something to bear in mind when we consider the claims:

In 2006, a pair of deaf Manchester United fans claimed to have lip-read Liverpool’s Steve Finnan targeting Evra with racial abuse. Evra himself would neither confirm nor deny these claims, which led to the case being investigated by the Manchester police who in the end dismissed it as pure nonsense with no grounding in reality. He also rather famously talked before World Cup 2010 about being the target of racist chants from Senegalese supporters who resented him choosing to play for France instead of the nation of his birth, claiming he had been targeted as a "monkey who grovels before the white man." The idea of black supporters targeting a black player for abuse by calling him a monkey seems, at least on the surface, to be rather surreal and more than a touch ridiculous, and in the end no evidence of such chanting was ever found.

The best documented case of Evra and racial abuse, however, comes from 2008, when Manchester United accused a Chelsea groundsman of such in an attempt to have Evra’s four match ban for physically confronting said groundsman overturned. In the end their challenge would be labeled "inconsistent and unreliable," the groundsman would be cleared, and Evra’s four match ban and £15,000 fine would be upheld.

Obviously, even Liverpool fans would like to see Suarez punished if he did indeed make the racist remarks that Evra is accusing him of - that sort of thing is something everyone would like to see stamped out of the game. But they also have every right to be angry if one of their stars is being falsely accused, because if Evra's making this up... well, that would be pretty untoward, to say the least.


Luis Suarez 'Categorically Denies' Using Racist Language To Abuse Patrice Evra

We've heard Patrice Evra's side of the story in the racism row between the Manchester United fullback and volatile Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez - now Liverpool are weighing in, saying that Suarez has 'categorically denied*' sending any racist abuse towards Evra, with whom he clashed repeatedly in the second half:

The first we knew about these allegations was 20 minutes after the final whistle when the manager was asked to go into the referee's office and told about them. The first thing we did, as you would expect, is ask the player and he has categorically denied using any language of that nature.

I think that everyone would like to believe that said abuse is a figment of Evra's imagination, but with the matter already going to the FA and Evra claiming that he was referred to as 'a certain word' ten times or more, things are obviously starting to spiral out of control. The investigation will determine whether the allegations are true or not, at any rate.

*This particular idiom has never made much sense to me.

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