Monday 27 February 2017

Suarez verdict delay as panel refuse to rush

Sam Wallace

The three-man commission hearing the racial abuse charges against Luis Suarez announced last night it would delay its decision and work through the weekend, a reflection of the complexities of one of the most sensitive cases in football in recent years.

The English FA had anticipated on Thursday that the independent panel which is ruling on the allegations that Suarez racially abused Manchester United defender Patrice Evra at Anfield two months ago would deliver its verdict yesterday.

At 6.30pm last night, the FA announced the panel would work through the weekend to reach a verdict. The governing body said that it did not expect a ruling before Tuesday.

Although all sides want a swift resolution to the charges against Suarez -- Liverpool will certainly appeal if he is found guilty -- the governing body is aware such a sensitive case cannot be rushed.

Suarez himself gave evidence on Thursday to the panel, which has convened in an as yet undisclosed hotel in the north-west of England.

A statement said: "The Independent Regulatory Commission has confirmed there will be no decision this evening and will continue working through the weekend. There will be no announcement on any decision before Tuesday at the earliest."

The FA acts as the prosecution in the case. The player is defended by lawyers enlisted by Liverpool. The three-man panel is effectively the judge and jury.

The crux of the case relates to whether comments in Spanish by Suarez constituted racial abuse.

It understood Suarez admitted to using the term "negro" but contextualised it in his evidence by saying in his native Uruguay it is not regarded as a racial slur and was not intended as one. (© Independent News Service)

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