Liverpool Football Club’s star striker Luis Suarez has been banned for eight matches after being found guilty by the English Football Association of racially abusing a rival player. The incident occurred during Liverpool’s Premier League match against fierce local rivals Manchester United at Anfield in October.
United defender Patrice Evra. a Senegal-born French international had lodged an official complaint immediately after the game. Evra told French television “There are cameras, you can see [Suarez] say a certain word to me at least 10 times.” Suarez denied the charges of racial abuse, and told media in his native Uruguay he had called him “something his team-mates at Manchester call him.”
His club, Liverpool, have appealed the ban and maintain their player is innocent. In a statement the club said “We find it extraordinary that Luis can be found guilty on the word of Patrice Evra alone. No-one else on the field of play – including Evra’s own Manchester United teammates and all the match officials – heard the alleged conversation between the two players in a crowded Kop goalmouth.” The statement added: “Evra admitted himself in his evidence to insulting Luis Suarez in Spanish in the most objectionable of terms.”
Suarez was also fined £40,000 (nearly 48,000 euros). The eight-match penalty is one of the heaviest ever handed down by the English FA. The 24-year-old Tweeted: “Today is a very difficult and painful day for me and my family. Thanks for all the support.”