Liverpool said on Tuesday they had accepted Luis Suarez’s eight-match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra, seeking to draw a line under the affair while maintaining their player’s innocence.
Liverpool had lashed out at Suarez’s ban and £40 000 fine, but had stopped short of launching an appeal until the full written ruling of a disciplinary panel was released last weekend.
Suarez’s ban will now take immediate effect, ruling the Uruguayan international out of Tuesday’s Premier League clash with Manchester City.
“Liverpool FC have this afternoon informed the [Football Association] that they will not be appealing the decision of an independent regulatory commission in relation to the recently proven misconduct charge against Luis Suarez,” the FA said.
In the 115-page written ruling from the case released last Saturday, the FA panel said Suarez had given “unreliable” and “inconsistent” evidence during the hearing, where elements of his testimony were “incredible”.
A Liverpool statement released on Tuesday maintained that the case against Suarez remained “highly subjective” and was “based on an accusation that was ultimately unsubstantiated”.
But the club said it now wished to draw a line under the affair despite disagreeing with the verdict.
“There are ultimately larger issues than whether or not Luis Suarez has been treated fairly by the Football Association in this matter,” it said.
“The issue of race in sports, as in other industries, has a very poor history. Far too often, and in far too many countries, the issues of racism and discrimination have been covered over or ignored … Continuing a fight for justice in this particular case beyond today would only obscure the fact that the club wholeheartedly supports the efforts of the Football Association, the Football League and the Premier League to put an end to any form of racism in English football … It is time to put the Luis Suarez matter to rest and for all of us, going forward, to work together to stamp out racism in every form both inside and outside the sport.”
Suarez, who was found to have repeatedly called Evra a “negro” during his confrontation with the Manchester United defender, insisted in a separate statement he had done no wrong.
“I am very upset by all the things which have been said during the last few weeks about me, all of them being very far from the truth. But above all, I’m very upset at feeling so powerless whilst being accused of something which I did not, nor would not, ever do,” Suarez said.
“In my country, ‘negro’ is a word we use commonly, a word which doesn’t show any lack of respect and is even less so a form of racist abuse. Based on this, everything which has been said so far is totally false … I will carry out the suspension with the resignation of someone who hasn’t done anything wrong and who feels extremely upset by the events … I do feel sorry for the fans and for my teammates whom I will not be able to help during the next month. It will be a very difficult time for me.” — AFP