LONDON: Liverpool have come under renewed pressure over the eight-game ban and £40,000 fine facing Luis Suarez after the FA’S disciplinary commission published its report into his racist comment to Manchester United’s Patrice Evra in the 1-1 draw at Anfield on October 15.
The club have until January 13 to appeal. They have supported Suarez resolutely. His team-mates, controversially, even wore T-shirts with Suarez’s face on them before a game at Wigan.
However, the 115-page report says Suarez gave “unreliable” and “inconsistent” evidence over the clash in which Suarez called Evra ‘negro’ (black) seven times in two minutes. The commission rejected Suarez’s claim that he used the word in a “friendly” manner.
It stated: “Mr Evra was a credible witness. He gave his evidence in a calm, composed and clear way. It was, for the most part, consistent, although both he and Mr Suarez were understandably unable to remember every detail of the exchanges between them.
“Mr Suarez’s evidence was unreliable in relation to matters of critical importance. It was, in part, inconsistent with the contemporaneous evidence, especially the video footage. For example, Mr Suarez said that he pinched Mr Evra’s skin in an attempt to defuse the situation. He also said that his use of the word ‘negro’ to address Mr Evra was conciliatory and friendly. We rejected that evidence.
“To describe his own behaviour in that way was unsustainable and simply incredible given that the players were engaged in an acrimonious argument. That this was put forward by Mr Suarez was surprising and seriously undermined the reliability of his evidence on other matters. There were also inconsistencies between his accounts given at different times as to what happened.”
On November 16 Suarez was charged with using abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Evra, including a reference Evra’s ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race. Between December 14 and December 20 the commission heard evidence about the incident from the match officials and staff from the two clubs including Ryan Giggs, Sir Alex Ferguson and Kenny Dalglish.
The FA’s case, according to the report, was that Evra asked Suarez why he had kicked him, to which the forward replied: “Because you are black.”
When Evra challenged him to repeat the answer and said he would “punch him”, Suarez said: “I don’t speak to blacks.”
According to the report, Evra then told Suarez he was going to hit him, to which the Uruguay international replied in Spanish: “Dale, negro, negro, negro.” That translates to “okay, blackie, blackie, blackie”.
Suarez said 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 black-haired).”
Suarez maintained that when he said “Por que, negro?” to Evra, it was intended in a conciliatory and friendly way. Suarez said this was the only time that he used the word “negro” in his exchanges with Mr Evra during the match.
As part of its investigation, the FA considered reports by two experts on the linguistic and cultural interpretations of the words ‘negro” and ‘negros’ in ‘River Plate’ Spanish.
** British tax authorities are reportedly investigating whether Premier League players should be taxed on the value of free holidays, luxury accommodation and other gifts they may receive because of their fame and sponsorship connections.