This is the post I’ve not been looking forward to writing so no Wigan review today for obvious reasons
In my mind I guess it’s always been on the horizon ever since Patrice Evra accused Luis Suarez of using racist words during the game against The Mancs in two months ago.
Yesterday’s FA verdict, which bans Suarez for eight games and fines him £40,000, is the apparent conclusion.
At the moment little is known of the reasoning which lead the FA to arrive at their conclusion presumably we will get to see or hear about this in due course? Liverpool’s immediate stance is fairly clear….
“We find it extraordinary that Luis can be found guilty on the word of Patrice Evra alone when no one else on the field – including Evra’s own team-mates and all the match officials – heard the alleged conversation between two players in a crowded Kop goalmouth while a corner-kick was about to be taken…. it is our strong belief, having gone over the facts of the case, that Luis Suarez did not commit any racist act. It is also our opinion that the accusation by this particular player was not credible – certainly no more credible than his prior unfounded accusations.”
We still don’t know if Liverpool intend to appeal and presumably this will be determined by what evidence the FA have? We could do with it as there appears to be some confusion. There is the Liverpool statement above then there is Evra’s assertion that
“There are cameras, you can see (Suarez) say a certain word to me at least 10 times.”
These appear to contradict each other as does Evra’s written statement which declares
‘I don’t think that Luis Suarez is racist’.
One feels like paraphrasing Monty Python “He’s not a racist he’s just a very naughty boy” but seriously how did the FA reconcile all this and arrive at their conclusion?
Then there are the much written about cultural nuances which seem to surround the use of one word and whether or not it is acceptable in Europe as it appears to be in South America. It is arguable that Suarez has been over in this part of the globe long enough (he was at Groningen and Ajax for five years or so) to know that such language, if used, would cause trouble. The reasoning that, in this particular case, you should respect the European stance on this, because you are working in the place, is compelling.
Liverpool have also suggested that the result of the enquiry was a forgone conclusion
“It appears to us that the FA were determined to bring charges against Luis Suarez, even before interviewing him at the beginning of November”
I’m not quite sure where this is going but presumably it is a reference to Suarez’s alleged penchant for diving and trying to get players booked and his overall reputation which, outside Anfield, hasn’t exactly propelled him to head of any popularity queues. However, there is also a potential political point. Perhaps the FA wish to be seen to making this stance in the light of Sepp Blatters recent foolhardy outbursts over racism? Wouldn’t it be nice to cock a snoop at the man who played a part in “robbing” us of the World Cup? More to the point the FA would be seen to be acting in their own back yard when UEFA and FIFA have consistently failed to hand out any meaningful punishments to sides whose fans have abused black players in many cases the victims are English.
On the other had the fact that FA have taken the best part of a week to arrive at the conclusion perhaps suggests there is an usually amount of consideration behind the decision, a careful determination to get his right regardless of what people think of Suarez. However, if this is the case then surely both sides should be addressed? As it is Suarez gets the flack but Evra, who also abused Suarez, walks away.
Ultimately an eye for eye argument won’t make things any easier for Suarez. The FA need to provide evidence and they need to make dam sure that it is compelling and that their arguments are watertight. Given the damage to Suarez’s reputation it could cause surely his and the club’s lawyers will be crawling all over it? If they do appeal accepting a reduced punishment to say three games should not be countenanced it should be everything dropped (bans and charges) as surely the nature of the charges do not allow for compromise?
For Luis Suarez it is big blow to his reputation, even if the appeal is successful, there is the danger of mud sticking. For him it is hoped the results of the FA’s deliberations are made public because to me some things don’t stack up, for example has anyone, players or TV company, come forward with evidence to substantiate Evra’s claim? For those Liverpool fans trying to reconcile their feelings for a much loved footballer with the odious accusation of racism perhaps the words of Herman Ouseley, Chairman of anti-racism group Kick It Out will help?
“This charge is not saying Luis Suarez is a racist. It’s saying, on this occasion, he used racist language. It doesn’t make him a bad guy – he needs to learn what is acceptable.”
Perhaps so, but try telling that to the next set of away fans who visit Anfield?