Tuesday 25 April 2017

Suarez appeal likely to drag on for months

LIVERPOOL may have to wait until February before launching an appeal against the eight-match ban imposed on Luis Suarez.

The written judgment explaining the findings of the English FA's Independent Commission, which issued the severe punishment against the South American for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra, is not likely to be published until mid-January.

And only when Liverpool have received the transcript of the hearing can they consider whether to take further action. That is when the 14 days' deadline to challenge the conclusions is triggered.

The possible one-month delay means that the saga is certain to drag on towards the end of the season. It is inconceivable an appeal won't follow, given the strength of feeling on Merseyside.

However, Liverpool, whose players last night issued a joint statement in support of their team-mate, will then run the risk of seeing the ban extended.

Relief

There was at least some relief for Suarez last night when Merseyside police confirmed the FA's judgment will not lead to a criminal investigation similar to that affecting Chelsea's John Terry. They will not act unless a complaint is made, and Evra has made no representations to the police about the October 15 incident.

Liverpool's players last night took the unprecedented step of releasing a statement in which they declared: "Luis Suarez is our team-mate and our friend and as a group of players we are shocked and angered that he has been found guilty by the FA.

"We totally support Luis and we want the world to know that. We know he is not racist. We are a squad of many different nationalities and backgrounds. All of us support the club's commitment to fighting racism and accept there is no place in the game for any form of discrimination.

"We have lived, trained and played with Luis for almost 12 months and we don't recognise the way he has been portrayed. We will continue to support Luis through this difficult period and, as a popular and respected friend of all his team-mates, he will not walk alone."

Irish Independent

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