On Tuesday, the Reds learned they could be without top scorer Luis Suarez for eight matches after an English Football Association investigation found the Uruguayan striker guilty of racist abuse. The match ban — which was accompanied by a £40,000 ($62,000) fine — comes two months after Manchester United’s Patrice Evra accused Suarez of uttering abusive language that referred to Evra’s “ethnic origin and/or color and/or race” throughout a 1-1 draw on Oct. 15.
Suarez, whose five goals give him three more than any other Liverpool player, has maintained his innocence and will have 14 days to appeal the decision after he receives it in writing.
Liverpool responded with sharp criticism of the findings of the investigation, insisting Evra also deserved punishment.
As quoted in the Daily Mail, the team’s statement read:
“We find it extraordinary that Luis can be found guilty on the word of Patrice Evra alone when no-one else on the field of play — including many of Evra’s own Manchester United team-mates and all the match officials — heard the alleged conversation between the two players in a crowded Kop goalmouth while a corner kick was about to be taken.”
The club also said it is “incredible to us that a player of mixed heritage should be accused and found guilty in the way he has based on the evidence presented. We do not recognize the way in which Luis Suarez has been characterised.”
(The Telegraph has published the full statement here.)
Suarez, whose grandfather was black, according to Liverpool’s statement, expressed his disappointment on Twitter.
Today is a very difficult and painful day for both me and my family. Thanks for all the support, I'll keep working!... say.ly/OBp19Yv— Luis Suarez (@luis16suarez) December 20, 2011
Here are the findings from an independent regulatory commission’s decision:
1. Mr. Suarez used insulting words towards Mr. Evra during the match contrary to FA Rule E3(1);
2. the insulting words used by Mr. Suarez included a reference to Mr. Evra’s colour within the meaning or Rule E3(2);
3. Mr. Suarez shall be warned as to his future conduct, be suspended for eight matches covering all first team competitive matches and find the sum of £40,000;
4. the [penalty] is suspended pending the outcome of any appeal lodged by Mr. Suarez against this decision.
(H/T SB Nation)