After a lengthy investigation, the English Football Association has finally decided that Liverpool’s Luis Suarez is guilty of making racist comments towards Manchester United’s Patrice Evra. The 8 match ban is a real statement of intent from the FA although the £40,000 fine is not much of a financial deterrent.
Perhaps the FA are anticipating a strong appeal from Liverpool and Suarez which might end with a slightly reduced ban, or maybe they really are focused on eradicating racism from the English game.
The interesting thing about the Suarez – Evra episode is that there probably was no malicious intent here; Suarez claimed to be speaking to Evra in the same way as he had always down to black players in his own country, Uruguay. However, calling a black player a ‘Negro’ may be acceptable in one country but is obviously not acceptable in another – Suarez has been living in Europe since 2006 and resident in the United Kingdom for almost a year and it seems inconceivable that he can not have been aware of the racism issues here and the high profile anti-racism campaigns.
Liverpool will definitely appeal against the punishment, they’re argument being that this was one man’s word against another and that it was Suarez himself who freely admitted what he said as he didn’t think he had said anything out of place. If Suarez had said nothing, there would have been no evidence against him. Chelsea’s John Terry must now be wondering what fate awaits him after television cameras captured him (possibly) saying something racist to QPR’s Anton Ferdinand.
For Liverpool, pending any successful appeal, they’ll have to make do without Luis Suarez until the second leg of the Carling Cup final on 25th January. Notably, Liverpool will have to do without their star player for two matches against Manchester City and one against Newcastle. It’s fair to say that Liverpool feel they’ve been treated unfairly and won’t be letting this one go without a fight.