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:
- Liverpool FC believe that there is no evidence other than Patrice Evra's word.
- Liverpool FC believe that Patrice Evra is untrustworthy.
- Liverpool FC believe that Luis Suarez is not racist because he himself is of mixed race and has black friends.
- Liverpool FC believe that The FA have always wanted to suspend Luis Suarez because they're mean.
- Liverpool FC believe that Patrice Evra should be suspended for being mean too.
- 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.
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.