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.

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