Sunday 17 December 2017

'Unreliable' Suarez finds no comfort in FA report

Liverpool's Luis Suarez gave "unreliable" and "inconsistent" evidence to the Commission investigating claims that he racially abused Manchester United's Patrice Evra, it emerged last night.

The Football Association released the independent regulatory commission's full written reasons and the 115-page document goes into all the details of the case and the conversation the two players had during the match at Anfield on October 15.

The incident was triggered in the 58th minute when Suarez fouled Evra. Five minutes later the French defender was marking Suarez at a Liverpool corner, the first time the two players had come together since the foul. The two players were then involved in a row, and were spoken to by referee Andre Marriner.

On December 20, following a lengthy investigation by an Independent Regulatory Commission, the FA announced Suarez would be banned for eight matches and fined £40,000 for racially abusing Evra. The ban was suspended pending an appeal by the Merseyside club.

The report stated in its summary: "Mr Evra was a credible witness. He gave his evidence in a calm, composed and clear way. It was, for the most part, consistent, although both he and Mr Suarez were understandably unable to remember every detail of the exchanges between them.

"Mr Suarez's evidence was unreliable in relation to matters of critical importance. It was, in part, inconsistent with the contemporaneous evidence, especially the video footage. For example, Mr Suarez said that he pinched Mr Evra's skin in an attempt to defuse the situation. He also said that his use of the word 'negro' to address Mr Evra was conciliatory and friendly. We rejected that evidence.

"To describe his own behaviour in that way was unsustainable and simply incredible given that the players were engaged in an acrimonious argument. That this was put forward by Mr Suarez was surprising and seriously undermined the reliability of his evidence on other matters. There were also inconsistencies between his accounts given at different times as to what happened."

The Regulatory Commission was careful to examine "all the circumstances of the case. These circumstances include the fact that many players playing in England come from overseas, with a different language and culture."

To that end, the FA report said it "received expert evidence as to the use of the word 'negro' in Uruguay and other areas of Latin America. It is often used as a noun to address people, whether family, friends or passers-by, and is widely seen as inoffensive. However, its use can also be offensive. It depends on the context."

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