Saturday 25 November 2017

Air thick with paranoia as Dalglish calls for new race guidelines

Henry Winter

Kenny Dalglish has called upon the FA to publish "guidelines" on what words are unacceptable in football in the wake of the Luis Suarez affair. Liverpool's manager also wants the governing body to clamp down on the "antagonism" of opposing supporters towards the Uruguayan striker.

Suarez has been banned for eight matches for calling Patrice Evra "negro" during Liverpool's game with Manchester United at Anfield on October 15. In his unsuccessful defence, Suarez cited "cultural differences," arguing that it was a descriptive, not racial epithet.

"It would be helpful to everyone if someone gave us some guidelines about what you can and cannot say,'' said Dalglish.

He also wants the FA to tackle the barracking of Suarez by opposition crowds. Wigan Athletic fans booed Suarez on Wednesday, while Liverpool noted the chants about Suarez sung by United supporters at Fulham the same night. "I think where they (the FA) have to be more supportive is the antagonism of the crowds towards Luis,'' said Dalglish. "That is the great problem."

The whole sorry saga has been made more problematical by the commission's delay in publishing its reasonings. The presence of a verdict, but no explanation has created a vacuum, a cauldron of poison bubbling with conspiracy theories and the bile from sections of two great clubs' extensive supports.


If the racially abused Evra must always be remembered as the one who has suffered most, damage has also been inflicted on the relationship between United and Liverpool. Both clubs had been working hard behind the scenes to improve relations, including a possible joint overseas venture, but the Suarez-Evra maelstrom has set back that rapprochement.

A tense situation has deteriorated even further since the FA pronounced Suarez guilty on Tuesday evening. For all his inevitable desire to back his player, Dalglish erred in wearing that T-shirt supporting Suarez. As manager, Dalglish should have left such acts to the players.

Like Alex Ferguson, Dalglish cares about the game but, again like Ferguson, he will fight his club's corner. Liverpool's manager wants people to see that the FA could have agendas and he will be following any Terry developments with interest. He has already publicly noted that the FA has undermined its own disciplinary system by challenging Uefa's, successfully so in reducing Wayne Rooney's three-match ban for violent conduct. Another United player.

Paranoia permeates the air as rancour deepens between England's two greatest clubs. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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