Luis Suarez, Patrice Evra Racist Comment Ban: Timeline of the Entire Saga

Willie GannonSenior Writer IFebruary 13, 2012

Luis Suarez, Patrice Evra Racist Comment Ban: Timeline of the Entire Saga

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    The Luis Suarez race comment saga looked like it was coming to its end on February 11 when Liverpool traveled to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United in the latest game of the two clubs' great rivalry. All Suarez had to do was shake Patrice Evra's hand. Instead he blanked the French star, and the whole affair looked like it was to begin anew.

    Suarez's actions drew wide condemnation from all over the football world with Sir Alex Ferguson labeling the player a "disgrace" while others wondered how Liverpool FC could have let this happen.

    The ugly affair began on October 15, 2011 when Manchester United traveled to Anfield to take on Liverpool in the latest chapter of one of English football's great rivalries.

    From there, football took a back seat as United's left back and French international Patrice Evra alleged that Luis Suarez had made racist comments against him.

    The FA decided to investigate, and on November 17 the governing body charged Suarez for racially abusing the player. One month later and five days before Christmas, the FA gave Suarez an eight-game ban and fined him £40,000 pending an appeal by the club.

    With the saga looking like it's almost over following Liverpool FC's and Luis Suarez's apologies over the missed handshake, we look at the chronicle of events from the day Luis Suarez first racially insulted Patrice Evra on October 15 to the day the Liverpool striker refused to shake the United player's hand on February 11 and the immediate aftermath from the following incredible day.

October 15: Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United

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    Steven Gerrard was making his first start of the season for Liverpool, Sir Alex Ferguson was leading his charges into battle against his auld enemy Kenny Dalglish and Wayne Rooney was sensationally dropped after his manager felt his head wasn't in the right place after the striker had received an international three-game ban that ruled him out of all of England's matches in Euro 2012.

    All the pieces were in place for another classic encounter between the two largest clubs in England.

    However, no one could have predicted that the most important moment of the game, and possibly in football history, was not a decision made by either manager or one of the two goals scored.

    No, the most important moment of the match, and possibly one of the most important moments in the modern game, happened in the 58th minute when Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez clashed following a tackle...

    This moment will be etched in football history as it defines the moment the global game played locally became a local game played globally.

    The game was played out without any but our two protagonists and a few side players knowing what happened. It was the calm before the storm that would last almost six months.

    The rest is history in every meaning of the word.

October 16: The World Wakes to Patrice Evra's Allegations of Racism

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    Following Manchester United's 1-1 away to Liverpool, the FA were forced to investigate allegations of racism against Luis Suarez after Patrice Evra had made the referee, Andre Marriner, aware that he was abused by the Liverpool striker during the game.

    The official included the serious allegation in his match report, and as a result the FA were forced into action and they released a small but important statement.

    An FA statement read, "Referee Andre Marriner was made aware of an allegation at the end of the fixture and has reported this to the FA."

    It added, "The FA will now begin making enquiries into the matter."

    Evra was quoted as telling French TV station Canal Plus, "There are cameras, you can see him [Suarez] say a certain word to me at least 10 times."

    A Liverpool spokesman told the Press Association that Suarez "categorically denied" the allegation.

October 16: Suarez "Upset" over Evra's Allegations

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    Using his Twitter and Facebook accounts, the Liverpool striker released a small statement in response to the serious allegations made by Patrice Evra.

    "I'm upset by the accusations of racism. I can only say that I have always respected and respect everybody," he said before adding, "We are all the same. I go to the field with the maximum illusion of a little child who enjoys what he does, not to create conflicts."

October 17: Evra Wants to Pursue Suarez over Allegations

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    With Suarez responding to his claims, Patrice Evra made it clear to the football world that this matter was not going to go away easily and that he was going to pursue the issue to its ultimate end.

    Speaking through his manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, the French international used the most potent and possibly important voice in English football to let everyone know his intentions.

    "I've spoken to Patrice. He is adamant he wants to follow it," said Ferguson.

    "It is not an easy one for us. Everyone knows Manchester United and Liverpool have great responsibilities in terms of things that happen on the field."

    Ferguson then referred to the recent 1-1 draw:

    Saturday was terrific. Both sets of fans were good. There was not any of that silly chanting we have had in previous years. Both sets of fans deserve praise for that.

    It is not something we would want to level against Liverpool and it is not against Liverpool.

    Obviously Patrice feels aggrieved at what was said to him.

    "It rests in the hands of the FA now," he said ominously.

October 19: Liverpool Confident That Evra Will Not Produce Witnesses

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    Despite Patrice Evra's claims to Canal Plus about Luis Suarez racially abusing him, Liverpool FC began to grow in confidence towards the end of October that the FA would be forced to drop the case.

    With the club vehemently backing Suarez and the player denying the allegations from Evra, the FA were forced to interview other parties from both clubs and television companies to corroborate the claims.

    If no other witnesses could be found, the case would become a simple issue of one man's word against the others and would immediately become impossible to prove for the FA.

October 20: Kenny Dalglish Defends Luis Suarez

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    Kenny Dalglish, in a press conference prior to Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Norwich at Anfield, made a robust defence of his under-fire player.

    The Liverpool manager, wearing an anti-racism badge, made it clear to everyone at the get-together that both he and the club were fully behind Suarez.

    The only thing I will say—and then it is put to bed—is that this football club and everyone at the football club is totally and utterly behind Luis Suarez. There was an allegation after the game about him diving all over the place (from Sir Alex Ferguson) and then there was an allegation from Patrice Evra.

    Obviously, the two things are quite emotive, [the racism claims and Sir Alex Ferguson's claims that Suarez dives] but we fully support the wee man on both things. At the start of the week the club made their position known and apart from what I have said, we won't be adding to it.

    He ended the press conference by saying, "We fully look forward to a complete, transparent report from the FA and look forward to co-operating 100 percent fully with what is done."

October 28: Kenny Dalglish Wants Guilty Party Punished

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    With the FA coming under pressure on whether to continue with the fact finding or end it, the Liverpool boss, Kenny Dalglish, chose to up the ante on the FA by declaring that he wanted an end to the investigation.

    Speaking in a press conference before Liverpool's game at the Hawthorns against West Brom, Dalglish said, "We would rather have it done and dusted, out in the open.

    Whoever is the guilty party - the person who said it or the accuser - [should] get their due punishment [in reference to his beliefs that Patrice Evra was telling lies].

    For me, I don't see racism apparent in any way, shape or form as far as this football club is concerned.

    I do not think racism is prevalent in the game here and it certainly isn't at this football club.

    We have got a case going on ourselves which seems to be dragging its feet.

    We look forward to the case coming to a conclusion.

    Luis has been fantastic and the great thing about him is that he is very unassuming as well.

    Everybody can see what he can do on the pitch - but he has got no edge to him. He doesn't think he is better than anyone else.

    He is a great ambassador for the football club. For us, as well as his football, the other things he brings to the club are very important as well.

    He is just a fantastic person as well as a fantastic footballer.

November 8: Luis Suarez to Demand an Apology from Patrice Evra over Allegations

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    With the FA nearing a decision on whether to pursue Luis Suarez over Patrice Evra's allegations, the Uruguayan striker maintained his belief that he is the innocent party in all of this and moved one step further by demanding an apology from Evra.

    The FA will have to clear it up with him, because there is no proof at all that I have said anything racist,” said Suárez when speaking to Uruguayan journalists while on international duty.

    There are things that happen in football, all in the moment, that leaves one feeling bad.

    Now we have to wait to see this issue decided and then the Manchester player and I will have to clear things up.

    Depending on who ends up in the wrong, one of us will have to apologise.

    There were two sides of our discussion, one in Spanish and one in English.

    I didn’t insult him, it was just my way of expressing myself."

    I called him something that his own Manchester United players call him. Furthermore, even they were surprised at his reaction on the pitch.

November 13: FA Case Delayed by Language Confusion

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    Luis Suarez, having categorically denied racially abusing Patrice Evra, stepped up the case to prove his innocence by raising the counter argument that use of variations of "n-----" were not deemed offensive in Uruguay.

    The FA then decided to inform Evra of this change of argument from the Liverpool player and that language experts may have to be considered if the case is to move any further.

    Evra alleged that he was called "negro" or a Spanish variation of the word at least 10 times during an exchange between the players in the 58th minute.

    Liverpool's and Suarez's argument centers on the fact that people who are comfortable in each other's company can use any variation of the word without comeback. This appears to be the case in many parts of society, especially in Uruguay and Argentina where Suarez grew up.

    Backing this point up, Suarez added that he was using the word in a "way of expressing myself. I called him something his teammates at Manchester call him, and even they were surprised by his reaction."

    However, Patrice Evra's argument centers on the context of how the word was used.

November 16: Luis Suarez Charged by FA for Racially Abusing Patrice Evra

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    From the FA:

    The FA has today charged Liverpool’s Luis Suarez following an incident that occurred during the Liverpool versus Manchester United fixture at Anfield on 15 October 2011.

    It is alleged that Suarez used abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Manchester United’s Patrice Evra contrary to FA rules. 

    It is further alleged that this included a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Patrice Evra.

    The FA will issue no further comment at this time.

November 16: Sepp Blatter Says On-field Racism Can Be Resolved by a Handshake

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    Just as the FA were investigating the Evra/Suarez alleged racism case, Sepp Blatter, the president of FIFA, weighed in on the issue by saying that football did not have a problem with racism on the pitch.

    Conducting a series of interviews with CNN and Al Jazeera, the FIFA president said:

    There is no racism [on the field], but maybe there is a word or gesture that is not correct.

    The one affected by this should say this is a game and shake hands.

    When pushed on the matter by CNN, Blatter responded by saying:

    I would deny it. There is no racism.

    There is maybe one of the players towards another - he has a word or a gesture which is not the correct one.

    But the one who is affected by that, he should say, 'This is a game. We are in a game, and at the end of the game, we shake hands.' And this can happen, because we have worked so hard against racism and discrimination.

    Blatter's words came on the exact same day that Luis Suarez was charged with racially abusing Patrice Evra by the FA.

    The FIFA president's words caused a storm and provoked an immediate reaction with Rio Ferdinand using his Twitter account to respond to Blatter by saying:

    Tell me I have just read Blatter's comments wrong... if not then I am astonished.

    Your comments on racism are so condescending it's almost laughable. If fans shout racist chants but shake our hands is that OK?

    The former England captain later added, "I feel stupid for thinking that football was taking a leading role against racism - it seems it was just on mute for a while."

    Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, former Tottenham Hotspur striker Garth Crooks was equally critical of Blatter's remarks.

    "Clearly Sepp Blatter is a man who's never suffered from racism," he said. "I'm shocked and somewhat dismayed."

    Piara Powar, executive director of the Football Against Racism in Europe network, also condemned Blatter's comments.

    Sepp Blatter’s comments about player-on-player racism are at best naïve, and at worst, display ignorance of a long recognised problem. They undermine the good work of a global movement against discrimination in football and in society, and FIFA’s own activities in this field.

    The leader of world football should not be commenting on an issue against the background of the two very high profile incidents under investigation in the UK, and the countless incidents of similar abuse that have taken place globally over the past decade.

    To tell someone who has been abused because of their ethnic background, or sexual orientation, disability or gender, that he or she should simply shake hands with the abuser is an insult in itself and displays an absolute lack of understanding.

    For the FARE network this furore is about more than simply the debate as to FIFA’s competence to lead and govern football. It echoes the culture of denial faced by many of those groups within the FARE network campaigning against discrimination and for social justice. We hear stories constantly of a lack of recognition of the problems faced by marginalised and abused sections of society.

    We await FIFA’s long term response to this furore.

    Following the outage and condemnation of his comments, the FIFA president was later forced into making an apology and issued a statement on the matter.

    "I do not want to diminish the dimension of the problem of racism in society and in sport. I am committed to fighting this plague and kicking it out of football."

November 16: Liverpool's Luis Suarez Will Plead Not Guilty

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    From Liverpool.tv

    The Club this afternoon received notification from the Football Association of their decision to charge Luis Suarez and will take time to properly review the documentation which has been sent to us.

    We will discuss the matter fully with him when he returns from international duty, but he will plead not guilty to the charge and we expect him to request a personal hearing.

    Luis remains determined to clear his name of the allegation made against him by Patrice Evra.

    The Club remain fully supportive of Luis in this matter.

    At a press conference later, an unhappy Kenny Dalglish responded in a blunt manner to questions regarding the case from a Guardian journalist.

    The Liverpool boss was asked about the club statement on the matter. He replied, "Exactly. The club statement says everything and our position hasn't changed in any way shape or form. That's all I've got to say."

    The journalist then asked, "Did you have a chat with him?"

    Dalglish, growing impatient with the line of questioning, replied, "I've just said that. That's all I've got to say."

    Not giving up the Guardian writer asked, "As far as you're concerned he's not guilty?"

    The Liverpool boss then ended the exchange by referencing his earlier statement, "I mean, I don't know if you've got wax in your ears but I've just said, the statement says, what we've got to say and we've not changed our position in any way shape or form."

November 17: Football Against Racism Chief Backs FA on Luis Suarez Case

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    Piara Power, the head of Football Against Racism in Europe, backed the FA and the way they are carrying out the investigation into Patrice Evra's allegations against Luis Suarez.

    Speaking to BBC News, he said:

    I think the big issue about the Suarez / Evra and the Terry / Ferdinand cases is that they have shined a light in a place that people didn't have an insight to previously.

    Everyone knows from talking to ex-players that this is that sort of problem that went on [previously] and now you see it in 2011 going on 2012 that it's still an issue. You see now that the FA are charging somebody and I think that's right.

    You know, Suarez, whatever his perspective about what was said or wasn't said, and Evra, should both have their day in court, so to speak and bring evidence to bear in an FA tribunal."

    In early 2011, UEFA, the English FA and the Dutch FA staged a seminar in Holland to highlight and explore the issue of institutional discrimination within football.

    At the seminar he opened his keynote speech by saying, "The gathering in Amsterdam is a first in the specific area of institutional discrimination. UEFA and its partners are determined to identify, raise awareness of, and approach this issue, with experts and interested parties being brought together to look at possible solutions."

November 18: Gus Poyet Backs Luis Suarez in Race Row and Calls Evra a Cry Baby

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    Brighton and Hove Albion's Uruguayan manager, Gustavo Poyet, have said that he will appear in court to back Luis Suarez after the FA charged the Liverpool striker with racially abusing Patrice Evra.

    Speaking to TalkSport Radio, the legendary midfielder, who played for Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur between 1997 and 2004 and has managed Brighton since 2009, said that Luis Suarez was "100 percent not a racist."

    I know Luis very well and I will go to court if someone wants to prove he’s not racist. We live in Uruguay with plenty of people who have different colour skin. We all live together and play football together. I’ve been room-mates with people of different colour and we have no problems at all.

    I can assure you and everyone Luis is not a racist. We use different words and it is a different kind of situation. What hurts me the most is that you accuse someone. Luis Suarez has been accused of being a racist.

    You cannot accuse people without a proper investigation, especially when it’s a foreigner who is coming from a different place where we treat people of colour in a different way. So it was very easy to accuse someone.

    You need to go first very deep into it to see if there is maybe a case. For me there is nothing at all and we’re making things look bigger than they are and that hurts.

    Poyet then referenced his own past in Uruguayan football and offered an example of how such terms can have different meanings in South America.

    I played with a player and nobody knew him as Fernando Cáceres. Everyone knows him worldwide as Negro Caceres – even in the newspapers and on television they all him that. Is that racist?

    In England it is but in the rest of the world, in South America or Spain? It’s not. Because I read that 100 times in newspapers and I listen to TV programmes calling Fernando, a good friend of mine, Negro Caceres.

    The Uruguayan then offered an excuse for Suarez, saying the player was not yet used to the different culture in England as he was.

    I understand people in this country and I changed my way of behaving, but Luis has been in this country just a few months.

    I played in Spain for seven years and they called me everything.

    It doesn’t make it right, but what do you want? Tell me what you want?

    Me, I’m not racist. I’ve lived with people of different colours in different countries and I adapted to every single situation.

    Suarez needs to adapt to England, and England needs to adapt to the players that come here.

    England should adapt to the foreigners that come here and England needs to understand how the rest of the world lives. If we have that understanding, easy.

    If you try to go to a point that doesn’t exist in the rest of the world, it’s going to be complicated. You think the rest of the world is wrong and you are right?

    The Brighton boss then questioned the English culture, saying they should adapt to foreign players.

    Maybe it looks like you want the whole world to drive on the right hand side. Do you want that? So you need to adapt as well.

    Luis Suarez is 100 percent not a racist. We can accuse people and make Suarez look like a racist, but he’s not. He lived in a country where we live with people and work with people of other colour. And we trust them to the end.

    You are not racist when you go against one, but [you are] if you go against the whole world of different colour and nationalities. That is being racist, not saying one word in one moment.

    If that’s what you want, fair enough. I take it and accept it. I had to behave in a different way because I’ve been in England for 13 years. So I know what you are like and I adapt to that.

    Give Suarez another six months and I think he’ll be how you want him to be.  

    Poyet then went one step too far for many with his comments that Evra was a crybaby:

    I believe Luis Suarez, it's simple.

    I played football for seven years in Spain and was called everything because I was from South America.

    I never went out crying like a baby, like Patrice Evra, saying that someone said something to me.

    I'm surprised, in a really sad way, that he's been charged. It's really sad."

November 18: Sir Alex Ferguson Responds to Poyet's Comments

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    Speaking in a press conference as Manchester United prepared to take on Swansea, the Old Trafford maestro, under instructions by the FA not to talk about the case, responded to Poyet's comments.

    We have been asked by the FA not to say anything about the Evra situation and we have abided by that. I think Liverpool have been drip-feeding a lot of stuff out in the last couple of weeks, but at the end of the day the FA will deal with that.

    That's up to the FA to decide on, not for us. I have no stance on their [Liverpool's] agenda over the past couple of weeks. I understand they want to protect their player because he's an asset, and you can understand that. But we're abiding by the FA."

    I'm more surprised by Gus Poyet's remarks.

    I think that's inappropriate at the time when people throughout the world are condemning racism and I think he's chosen the wrong time. I can understand he wants to support someone from his country but he's got to think more. His criticism of Evra is a bit silly.

November 18: Luis Suarez Won't Be Affected by FA Charge, Says Kenny Dalglish

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    From the Liverpool Echo, Kenny Dalglish was speaking to the press when he was asked if he thought the whole ordeal would have an effect on Luis Suarez's form. He didn't think so.

    I don’t think the wee man’s form will suffer for any reason than, like everyone else, sometimes you don’t play as well as you are capable of playing. 

    But the standards he has set himself in many of the games he has played for us is a very high standard and very difficult to achieve week in and week out.

    The best way for us to judge him is that even when he’s not playing well he’s still a lot better than most people.

    We’ve not changed our stance in any way and I think the statement says everything that we need to say. We’ll just move on and take it as it comes now and see what happens. We said we wanted it done quickly but correctly.

    We don’t drift from what we’ve said. We can’t afford to. We will speak to him as a matter of course but we speak to everyone who comes back from international duty.

    Anybody at this football club that finds themselves in a bit of a bad time is only going to be looked after by the people here.

    Liverpool released a statement on Wednesday in which they said Suarez is “determined to clear his name” and that the club “remain fully supportive” of the striker.

November 18: Former Liverpool Star John Barnes Speaks to Henry Winter

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    John Barnes, legendary Liverpool player of the '80s and '90s, speaks to Henry Winter of the Telegraph and talks about racism in sport today and from when he played the game.

    I’m not condoning what Sepp Blatter has said or John Terry, if he’s proven to be guilty. I think Blatter should resign over many things, and this is just one. But those thoughts are based on stereotypical views drummed into us over a long period of time.

    People have been told for 400 years since slavery that black people aren’t as intelligent as white.

    White players always said to me, ‘You can call me ‘a white so and so’, I don’t mind.' But that’s because society has indoctrinated us over the past 400 years to think that that’s like saying, ‘You handsome so and so.'

    That’s why white players aren’t offended. They’re empowered.

    Black people aren’t empowered; 99 percent of black individuals would be offended being called ‘a black so and so’ because we’ve had 400 years of being dehumanised.

    We don’t know whether the allegations about John Terry and Luis Suárez are true.

    What we do know is that it’s happened before. The words they are alleged to have said have been said in the past year but it hasn’t been reported. Now and then there’s an incident and people are surprised. I’m not. I know it’s there.

    Any black player knows this. We’ve played against players, got into an altercation, looked him in the eye, he’s not said anything, but you know he’s thinking 'you black ----’. He wants to say it but doesn’t because he knows he’ll get into trouble. That happens very often.

    When I played they actually said it. They called me n----- to my face. It happened in training, in matches. Any black player of my generation had it. In 1984 with England in Brazil, I had it with the National Front.

    I had bananas thrown at me and monkey chants at West Ham and Millwall five years before that Everton game but because it was a high-profile match everyone took notice.

    It had been going on for ages.

    There wasn’t a game in the Eighties when you didn’t get racial abuse as a black player.

    I got racist abuse at Liverpool when I played for Watford.

    Then I played for Liverpool and didn’t get it.

    If I had played for Everton against Liverpool then maybe the Liverpool fans would have racially abused me.

    A lot of people are jumping on the bandwagon now about Blatter, saying he’s wrong – and he is. But if you want to have a South African-style Truth and Reconciliation Commission, get in every manager and player who is over 40 and ask them: ‘Say you have never used the N-word?’ Most won’t be able to. Much more than 75 percent of people back then in the Eighties would have.

    But people could not get under my skin. I’m a middle-class Jamaican boy and where I was brought up in Jamaica [in a wealthy military household] I was not meant to feel second-class. If I was brought up in England, I’d possibly see things differently. Ian Wright dealt with racism differently to how I did.

    Racism’s still a big problem in football.

    Racism can be invisible.

    How many black managers in England are there? Two.

    Black managers are given very short periods of time because people don’t believe they are up to the job.

    That’s racism.

    It’s not just a white thing. Look at the hierarchy of black African football who believe European coaches are better than black African. They treat black coaches with disdain. There’s this black dynamic of not feeling good enough.

    We are all racist to a certain extent.

    We all make presumptions about other people based on their colour, culture or ethnicity in variable degrees.

    We judge people even on their accents.

    When Eric Cantona said what he said about trawlers and seagulls, he’s a philosopher because of the French accent. It sounds intelligent.

    If Paul Merson said it in his Cockney accent, we’d say he was talking rubbish.

    Race, for me, should be social and cultural, rather than the colour of your skin. Anton Ferdinand would have more in common with John Terry than he does with some West African from Nigeria. John Terry will have more in common with Anton Ferdinand than a Slav from Eastern Europe who happens to be white. Racism is such a complex subject.

    Football can do nothing about getting rid of racism.

    Society has to [do it], through education and people understanding why they feel the way they do.

    Prejudice is a problem all over the world. I’m surprised when I see black people in the higher echelons of society. I know the most powerful man in the world is black [Barack Obama] but 400 years of indoctrination into thinking about a group of people as inferior is not going to change overnight.

    There was the human rights movement in the 1960s and yet 20 years ago we were still being racially abused – and it was accepted.

    My children don’t get racially abused. There’s a new British culture; those from 10 to 25 now identify with each other, whether black, white, Indian, Chinese.

    Black kids once upon a time would hold on to their West Indian or African identity because of their parents.

    Black kids now are British. Indian girls are wearing miniskirts and going out dancing. White kids are listening to black music. We are going through a transitional period.

November 20: Uruguayan Embassy to Help Liverpool's Luis Suarez Fight FA Charges

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    Liverpool's case for Luis Suarez received a huge backing today after the Uruguayan Embassy announced that they and the Uruguayan FA would offer any support needed by the club as they fight the FA charge.

    With Suarez's defense that his words are non-offensive in Uruguay, this new development has been seen as a major step in possible direction of the case being thrown out.

    Suarez would have hoped that Uruguayan officials would have been able to back his argument of the n-word being a normal part of Uruguayan conversation.

November 26: Luis Suarez Handed More Time by FA to Prepare Response Against FA

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    With the case growing more complex by the day and with the issue threatening to become an international incident, the Uruguayan government and Uruguayan FA become involved.

    The FA today decided to give Luis Suarez and Liverpool extra time to prepare their response to the November 16 charge.

    It was believed that Liverpool and Suarez's case would be built around cultural and linguistic differences and as a result both sides of the case will now rely heavily on language experts and their interpretation of the incident.

December 5: Luis Suarez Makes an Offensive Sign Towards Fulham Fans

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    Liverpool traveled to Craven Cottage to take on Fulham with the FA case against Suarez still in full swing.

    During the game, an incident occurred where Luis Suarez made a "one-fingered salute" towards Fulham fans after they had barracked him following an incident where they believed he went down too easily to win a penalty.

    After the game, Kenny Dalglish responded towards Fulham fans' allegations that Suarez was a "cheat."

    That's scandalous. I would like to see you write that in the paper because you would be in a bit of trouble as well.

    You write what you want to write. At the end of the day, we will look after Luis the best we can and I think it is about time he got a wee bit of protection from some people.

December 8: Kenny Dalglish Lashes the FA and Fulham Fans After Game

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    An unhappy Kenny Dalglish went on the attack, again, after Liverpool's 1-0 defeat to Fulham and trained his guns on both the FA, for their handling of the Luis Suarez affair, and on Fulham's fans for their abuse of the aforementioned player.

    Fulham's fans had branded the Uruguayan a "cheat" throughout the game with the end result being the pressurized player aiming a hand gesture towards them.

    He said, of the FA:

    Nine weeks to reach a decision is a joke, if it goes on any longer it will soon be due a testimonial.

    I've seen the picture [of the gesture against Fulham] now and I'd rather be sitting here talking about football.

    The charge only landed yesterday afternoon and I have yet to speak to him about it, but everyone at this club will stand by him.

    We know what the truth is because he's such a fantastic player.

    Opponents who can't stop him on the pitch find other ways to get at him.

    People are just jumping on the bandwagon now and accusing him of this, that and everything else.

    He is happy here, happy in his environment, but we need the outstanding issues to be cleared up before we can start talking about the man as a footballer."

    As long as opponents have to resort to verbals to try and get to him he must be doing something right. The fans recognise that. They will be right behind him on Saturday, because they know what's been going on. At the end of the day he's not been getting a fair crack of the whip.

December 14: The FA Begins Luis Suarez Disciplinary Hearing

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    The FA's two-day hearing into Patrice Evra's allegations against Luis Suarez began in earnest on December 14.

    The Frenchman maintains that he was racially abused by the Liverpool striker while Suarez says he "was just expressing himself."

    The hearing was expected to last for two days with a result given by the end of the week.

December 15: Kenny Dalglish Says Luis Suarez Has Liverpool's Full Support

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    With the FA hearing less than one day old, Kenny Dalglish issued his and Liverpool's support for Luis Suarez.

    ''We have said many times before we cannot say anything which will be prejudicial. We are standing right beside him and helping him as much as we possibly can," the Liverpool boss said.

December 16: No Decision from the FA Panel

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    With the footballing world awaiting the outcome of the FA disciplinary hearing against Luis Suarez, the game's governing body issued a statement saying the results would take longer than expected to be reached.

    The FA's statement read, “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, Dec. 20 at the earliest.”

    It is believed the delay in releasing their findings was because of the sensitive nature of the case, which rests heavily on the interpretation of language nuances.

December 19: Independent Regulatory Commission to Release Findings on Dec 20

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    Having failed to meet their initial deadline to release their findings within two days, the three-man group comprising the Independent Regulatory Commission will release their findings in the disciplinary case against Luis Suarez on Tuesday, December 20.

    The men involved are Paul Goulding QC, Denis Smith (former manager of Sunderland) and Brian Jones (Sheffield and Hallamshire Football Association chairman).

    Sam Wallace, one of the top football writers in Britain, wrote an opinion piece in the Independent on December 19 and said the trio "will be held up by an element of one set of supporters as incompetent, biased, useless – maybe even worse."

    The respected journalist went on to say:

    Throw into that mix a complicated race row with all sorts of nuances to do with language and cultural norms and you have a disciplinary case best described as a hospital pass. And that is before the conspiracy theories begin circulating.

    The latest one, doing the rounds on Twitter, is a real corker. Some Liverpool fans claim that the three-man commission is biased against Suarez because of the presence of Smith, who was manager of Sir Alex Ferguson's son Darren when he was a player at Wrexham. They also point to glowing remarks made by Smith about Ferguson in the former's autobiography.

    What those who make these accusations have overlooked is that both clubs have the power of veto over any member of an independent regulatory commission. At any point in the fraught legal arguments leading up to this case, Kenny Dalglish or Ian Ayre could have objected to Smith's presence on the panel.

    It is not every walk of life in which you get to choose your own judge but, hey, this is football.

December 20: The Independent Regulatory Commission Reaches a Conclusion

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    From theFA.com:

    An Independent Regulatory Commission has today [Tuesday 20 December 2011] found a charge of misconduct against Luis Suarez proven, and have issued a suspension for a period of eight matches as well as fining him £40,000, pending appeal.

    On 16 November 2011, The Football Association charged Luis Suarez with misconduct contrary to FA Rule E3 in relation to the Liverpool FC versus Manchester United FC fixture on 15 October 2011.

    A hearing took place from 14-20 December 2011 before an Independent Regulatory Commission of The FA to consider the charge.

    The Independent Regulatory Commission announced its decision on 20 December 2011, which is as follows:

    1. Mr Suarez used insulting words towards Mr Evra during the match contrary to FA Rule E3(1);
    2. The insulting words used by Mr Suarez included a reference to Mr Evra's colour within the meaning of Rule E3(2);
    3. Mr Suarez shall be warned as to his future conduct, be suspended for eight matches covering all first team competitive matches and fined the sum of £40,000;
    4. The [penalty] is suspended pending the outcome of any appeal lodged by Mr Suarez against this decision.

    The Independent Regulatory Commission will provide written reasons for its decision in due course setting out:

    (a)          the findings of fact made by it;

    (b)          the reasons for its decision finding the charge proved; and

    (c)           the reasons for the penalty.

    Mr Suarez has the right to appeal the decision of the Independent Regulatory Commission to an Appeal Board. An appeal must be lodged within 14 days of the date of the written reasons for the decision.

    The penalty is suspended until after the outcome of any appeal, or the time for appealing expires, or should Mr Suarez decide not to appeal. The reason for this is to ensure that the penalty does not take effect before any appeal so that Mr Suarez has an effective right of appeal.

December 20: Furious Liverpool Release Statement After the FA Charge Luis Suarez

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    From Liverpool.tv:

    Liverpool Football Club is very surprised and disappointed with the decision of the Football Association Commission to find Luis Suarez guilty of the charges against him.

    We look forward to the publication of the Commission's Judgment.  We will study the detailed reasons of the Commission once they become available, but reserve our right to appeal or take any other course of action we feel appropriate with regards to this situation.

    We find it extraordinary that Luis can be found guilty on the word of Patrice Evra alone when 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 while a corner kick was about to be taken.

    The Club takes extremely seriously the fight against all forms of discrimination and has a long and successful track record in work relating to anti-racist activity and social inclusion.  We remain committed to this ideal and equality for all, irrespective of a person's background.

    LFC considers racism in any form to be unacceptable - without compromise.  It is our strong held belief, having gone over the facts of the case, that Luis Suarez did not commit any racist act.  It is also our opinion that the accusation by this particular player was not credible - certainly no more credible than his prior unfounded accusations.

    It is key to note that Patrice Evra himself in his written statement in this case said, 'I don't think that Luis Suarez is racist.'  The FA in their opening remarks accepted that Luis Suarez was not racist.

    Luis himself is of a mixed race family background as his grandfather was black.  He has been personally involved since the 2010 World Cup in a charitable project which uses sport to encourage solidarity amongst people of different backgrounds with the central theme that the colour of a person's skin does not matter; they can all play together as a team.

    He has played with black players and mixed with their families whilst with the Uruguay national side and was Captain at Ajax Amsterdam of a team with a proud multi-cultural profile, many of whom became good friends.

    It seems incredible to us that a player of mixed heritage should be accused and found guilty in the way he has based on the evidence presented. We do not recognise the way in which Luis Suarez has been characterised.

    It appears to us that the FA were determined to bring charges against Luis Suarez, even before interviewing him at the beginning of November. Nothing we have heard in the course of the hearing has changed our view that Luis Suarez is innocent of the charges brought against him and we will provide Luis with whatever support he now needs to clear his name.

    We would also like to know when the FA intend to charge Patrice Evra with making abusive remarks to an opponent after he admitted himself in his evidence to insulting Luis Suarez in Spanish in the most objectionable of terms.  Luis, to his credit, actually told the FA he had not heard the insult.

December 20: Luis Suarez Banned for 8 Games and Fined £40,000 for Racist Abuse

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    Luis Suarez was found guilty by the Independent Regulatory Commission on December 20 and was banned for eight games by the FA for racially abusing Patrice Evra. The Uruguayan striker was also handed a £40,000 fine and warned about his future conduct in the game with a stern warning that further actions of a similar nature could result in the player being banned from playing football altogether.

    Suarez, using his Twitter account, said, "Today is a very difficult and painful day for both me and my family. Thanks for all the support, I'll keep working!"

    In response, Kenny Dalglish also chose the social medium to issue his thoughts on the matter, saying "Very disappointed with today's verdict. This is the time when needs our full support. Let's not let him walk alone. KD"

December 20: Piara Power Backs the FA in Landmark Judgement

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    Piara Powar, executive director of Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE), backed the FA after their decision to ban Luis Suarez for racist abuse.

    He told BBC Radio 5 live:

    This is the first time we have seen an insight into what is said between players on the pitch, and what may have been commonplace between players in the past.

    This is a big moment and I would say that the FA have dealt with this in the right way. They have taken their time and taken independent advice.

    No one takes any pleasure from seeing him found guilty like this but it is an interesting judgement."

    If it is used in a friendly fashion then it is acceptable, it turns immediately to a hostile meaning if it is used as an offensive word. [FARE and the FA had taken advice on the context of similar words used by Luis Suarez]

    Taking the context of that game, it is difficult to see how he would have used it in a friendly way.

    Lord Ouseley, the chairman of anti-racism group Kick It Out, said:

    The FA has shown leadership and intent through what has clearly been a difficult and complex complaint to deal with, and invested time and expertise to ensure this outcome.

    It has demonstrated that it will not stand for discrimination, something organisations such as FIFA and UEFA should take heed of.

    This charge is not saying Luis Suarez is a racist. It's saying, on this occasion, he used racist language.

    Professional Footballers' Association chairman Clarke Carlisle thinks the decision is "100 percent correct".

    He told BBC Radio 5 live:

    There are definitely cultural differences for a lot of players coming from South America and from the continent into England.

    But even though those differences do exist, we still expect people who come and work here to adhere to the standards and the laws of this land.

    It's wholly acceptable in parts of the Middle East to chop off the hands of thieves but we wouldn't tolerate it here and it's just the same when it comes to racism.

December 21: Joint Statement from LFC Players Supporting Suarez

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    Prior to their 0-0 draw at the DW Stadium against Wigan, Liverpool's players issued a statement through the club website supporting Suarez.

    They then donned t-shirts emblazoned with the player's face, name and number for the pre-match warm-up.

    From Liverpool.tv:

    Luis Suarez is our teammate 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. All of us accept there is no place in the game for any form of discrimination. As a group of players we totally support the Kick it Out Campaign.

    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 teammates, he will not walk alone.

December 21: PFA Chairman Says Cultural or Language Differences No Excuse

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    Clarke Carlisle, one of the most well thought-of and intelligent men in the game and current Professional Footballers Association Chairman, went on BBC Radio 5 Live to give his opinion on the affair.

    The ex-player went on to say that "no form of discriminatory abuse should be acceptable" under any circumstances and that he fully accepted the eight-game ban given to the player for racist abuse against Patrice Evra.

    He added:

    There are definitely cultural differences for a lot of players coming from South America and from the continent into England.

    But even though those differences do exist, we still expect people who come and work here to adhere to the standards and the laws of this land.

    It's wholly acceptable in parts of the Middle East to chop off the hands of thieves but we wouldn't tolerate it here and it's just the same when it comes to racism.

    To listen to Clarke Carlisle's interview with 5 Live, click here.

December 21: Luis Suarez Ban Leaves Uruguay Bemused, Says Tim Vickery

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    Writing for BBC in the aftermath of the Luis Suarez disciplinary commission, South American expert Tim Vickery wrote about the cultural differences on the side of the Atlantic.

    It is news [the eight game ban and fine] which has not gone down well in Uruguay. When the verdict was announced and published on the website of El Pais, the country's leading newspaper, the comments section was full of remarks attacking the "hypocrisy" and "pseudo-moralism" of the English.

    These words are not easy [negrito] - perhaps almost impossible - to translate into a contemporary English context. How do you judge the weight of a word uttered in a foreign language from a different mindset?

    But how to know when this word ceases to be descriptive and becomes pejorative? And for the FA disciplinary committee, how to avoid kicking the case around like a political football?

    Context is crucial.

    To read the full article by Tim Vickery, click here.

December 21: James Lawton's Emphatic Stand Against Racism in Football

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    James Lawton is probably the most respected and revered journalist operating in sports today. The multiple award-winning writer wrote an excellent piece in the Independent on December 21 where he reckoned the three-man panel had made a huge statement for football, and society in general, against racism.

    He began his column by saying, "Negro or negrito, it doesn't really matter now. Sometimes it's not what you say so much as how you say it."

    He added:

    The men charged with arguably one of the trickiest decisions in the history of FA discipline were unequivocal. Liverpool, predictably, are indignant and last night issued a powerful statement of rebuttal. From the tone of it, it would be surprising if they do not take advantage of the two-week suspension of Suarez's sentence which allows for an appeal.

    Liverpool said the decision was extraordinary in that the issue had come down to the word of Evra against Saurez's and that their player had no record of racism, pointing out his mixed-race heritage. They also cited Evra's comment that he did not regard Suarez as a racist.

    So what was the accusation against Suarez? It was one with which the panel concurred. He was guilty of misconduct and insulting behaviour and the use of racist language. You could translate that into some mild attempt at incitement to a loss of control in a player with whom you were engaged in a desperate battle for advantage. You could also say that in another context Suarez would have been guilty of nothing more than "cultural" clumsiness.

    The decision was, however, much more emphatic. It said that Suarez had succeeded in inflaming his opponent in a calculated and unacceptable way.

    This could create an interminable argument about cause and effect but the gut instinct here is that a difficult but vital stand has been made.

    To read James Lawton's article in full click here.

December 21: Luis Suarez Racism Case the Most Difficult of Modern Times

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    The former head of the FA, David Davies, has said that the Luis Suarez racism case was the most difficult and sensitive case the FA have possibly ever had to deal with.

    "This has been one of the most difficult disciplinary cases of modern times because of language and cultural issues," Davies told BBC Radio 5 live .

    The FA has got to be consistent but it has also got to be fair.

    The FA has been at the forefront of fighting racism over more than a decade, and using football to do so - perhaps way ahead of UEFA, let alone FIFA.

    Yes, they've got to be consistent, but they've also got to be fair and right.

    Lord Ouseley, the head of Kick it Out, added to the debate by saying:

    All players playing in our jurisdiction know what standards are expected.

    No-one is saying he's a racist - he's probably a very nice guy.

    He's alleged to have made abusive comments and that's the basis on which [the case] was considered.

December 21: Kenny Dalglish, Again, Calls for FA to Take Action Against Fans

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    Just one day after the FA found Luis Suarez guilty of racist abuse, Kenny Dalglish, the Liverpool manager, has called upon the FA to take action against fans who give players a rough thrift during games. This echoes the Scot's protestations of December 8 after which he called upon the FA to act after Fulham's fans had jeered Suarez.

    Following his teams 0-0 draw against Wigan, Dalglish said:

    We have said we will always support him - and we will.

    That is not just the people at the football club, it's the people who the football club means something to.

    They know that Luis Suarez means a great deal to them and he has got mutual respect for the fans.

    There is a fantastic relationship there and nothing will break it.

    It's all very well and good to tell players to control themselves. The FA better start controlling crowds.

December 21: Diego Lugano Says, 'Luis Suarez Is the Victim'

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    Uruguay's captain and compatriot of Luis Suarez, Diego Lugano, came out in strong defence of the Liverpool striker and even went as far as to say that Evra was the one in the wrong.

    Speaking on his personal website, the centre-half said:

    I can't believe it. They're making a big mistake.

    Luis is a victim. I can't understand how a player like Evra can do this.

    He is breaking the codes of football.

    We all know what kind of person Luis is and the values he has.

    It's obvious that in England there's a racism problem they're trying to eradicate.

    That's good but this sentence has no solid arguments.

December 21: Gordon Taylor, Chief Exec of PFA, Says Ban Decision the Right One

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    Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Players Football Association in England and a key player in the footballing world, supported the findings of the three-man panel charged by the FA to investigate Patrice Evra's allegations.

    He said,

    This was an independent commission experienced in law and football and they must have had compelling evidence, and it sends out a very strong message to the rest of the world.

    I understand the point about cultural differences but if you come to this country all players have to abide by not just the laws of the game but the laws of the land as well. Referring to someone's skin colour has got to be offensive – it's self-evident.

    No one can say the FA have ducked this issue and bearing in mind outcry in this country over Sepp Blatter's remarks it sends out an important message. This is a timely reminder for the FA, the PFA and the clubs to continue education programmes particularly for players coming from abroad: it is never right to make reference to a person's skin colour or nationality.

December 21: Gus Poyet, 'I Back Luis to Death, Evra Is a Controversial Player'

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    Gustavo Poyet, the Uruguayan manager of Brighton, came out in full support of Luis Suarez once again. The ex-Chelsea and Spurs player had previously backed the striker on November 18. Speaking to Uruguayan newspaper Ultimas Noticias as reported in the Guardian he said,

    The ban is incredible, shocking, it's disproportionate.

    I back Luis to death.

    Things have happened before with Evra. He is not a saint. He is a controversial player.

    I don't know in which world we are going to live in from now on. People will accuse each other of anything. Suárez just arrived [in the Premier League] and there are things that he has to learn when you are in another country because they might be normal in your country but perhaps they are not considered that way in other parts of the world.

    I have tried to explain that we live with coloured people in Uruguay. We share different experiences with them. We play football, we share parties. We are born, we grow up and we die with them. We call them 'blacks' in a natural way, even in an affectionate way. That is the way we were brought up. We are integrated and there are no problems from either side.

    I've explained how the Uruguay people and the South Americans experience these situations with coloured people.

    I've been many years in England and I understand them. I know how to deal with it, but Luis has only recently arrived here.

December 22: Paul McGrath 'Support Shirts Were Shamful'

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    Former Irish international Paul McGrath was scathing in his criticism of Liverpool's players for wearing t-shirts in support of Suarez. The ex-player, affectionately known as "the Black Pearl of Inchicore" in Ireland was regularly racially abused by large sections of the crowd during his time in England.

    The irate legend told Irish radio:

    Maybe Kenny [Dalglish] is trying to make a statement to the FA but I just think it is in bad taste that he sent them out in those T-shirts.

    It would have been much better for Liverpool Football Club if they had have worn anti-racism shirts.

    It's about respect. There's this issue going on about respecting your opponents.

    It is actually a game.

    The game itself has gone too big, it's about winning and the money.

    The actual element of football being a game has long since gone, it is all about protecting your interest, protecting your best players.

    There are a lot of children that watch these games and to have done what they did last night, doing their warm-up in T-shirts with his smiling face on it, having just been done for a supposedly racist comment to one of his opponents, is shameful for football.

    It puts the anti-racism campaign back to the beginning as far as I'm concerned.

December 22: John Barnes Says Luis Suarez Ban a Witch Hunt

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    John Barnes, former Liverpool player and club legend, also came out in defence of Luis Suarez, saying the whole affair had become a witch hunt. Like McGrath, Barnes was also regularly racially abused during the dark days of 1980's football in England.

    Speaking to BBC Radio Merseyside in Liverpool, Barnes said:

    From a cultural point of view, [Suarez] has been backed by people from Uruguay saying the word he used is not deemed as a racist term.

    As much as we will say that ignorance is no excuse, ignorance is an excuse.

    Twenty years ago in England, the same people in England now condemning him were ignorant as to what racism is. Why don't they condemn themselves?

    And Liverpool fans too, when they say 'you Manc or whatever'. So where are we going to draw the line?

    Racism has to be zero tolerance but this is now a witch hunt.

December 23: Alex Ferguson Says Ban Was the Right Decision

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    Having remained quiet since October 15, except for a response to fellow manager Gus Poyet's comments on November 18, Alex Ferguson issued his support for both Patrice Evra and the FA's decision.

    Our support of Patrice was obvious right from the word go and that's still the same.

    The matter is over and I think we're satisfied that they [the FA's independent commission] found the right decision.

    This wasn't about Manchester United and Liverpool at all.

    It was nothing to do with that.

    This was an individual situation where one person was racially abused.

December 23: Kenny Dalglish Supports Suarez but the FA Must Act on Crowds

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    Also speaking in a pre-match press conference Kenny Dalglish once again reiterated his and Liverpool FC's support for Luis Suarez.

    The club have issued a statement and the players have made their statement both visually and verbally.

    The statement couldn't have caused anybody any trouble. I don't think the players have caused any trouble with the FA either with their statement or by their support with the T-shirts.

    If we are not in any trouble, we will just leave it at that before we do get into any trouble.

    I wouldn't think it is helpful to anybody that it [the verdict] is done before we have seen the written documents. If that's the way they have always done it then we cannot complain. I wouldn't know because I have never been involved in anything like this before.

    They [the Football Association] run the game; we don't, do we?

    Whether you agree with it is another matter. In another walk of life, they would have walked away and waited until they had it ready. But this is what happened.

    I think where they [the FA] have to be more supportive is the reaction from people – and the antagonism of the crowds – towards Luis.

    That is the great problem.

    He later added, "We totally support Luis and we want the world to know that," the statement read. "We know he is not racist. We have lived, trained and played with Luis for almost 12 months and we don't recognise the way he has been portrayed."

December 27: Society for Black Lawyers Calls for Suarez to Face Criminal Charges

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    The SBL (Society for Black Lawyers) has suggested that Luis Suarez could possibly face criminal charges for racially abusing Patrice Evra.

    Peter Herbert OBE and co-chair of the organization said, 'To our knowledge, neither club has bothered to conduct its own independent investigation or hold a disciplinary hearing.'

    If such serious allegations of racism had been made in the workplace, any reasonable employer would consider itself to be under a strict duty to conduct a full, detailed and impartial investigation into the allegations, and not simply to state that they stand behind the denials of the player concerned.

    The punitive effects of racism are felt by thousands of people in Britain each day.  The response of the Football Association (FA) and the CPS must be robust to protect others from the humiliation, pain and suffering that this type of hate crime inflicts.

    There is no reason why Suarez should not face criminal charges.  

    When individual football clubs and fellow players – both black and white – endorse this kind of behavior, they themselves become part of the problem because they stand in the way of the total eradication of racism from the sport.

    Their denial and appeasement reflects an abdication of their role as responsible players or employers.

December 28: Luis Suarez Admits Misconduct Charge for Fulham Gesture

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    Following his offensive gesture to Fulham fans on December 5, Luis Suarez was handed a one-game ban and fined £20,000 by the FA. This fine and ban come on top of the eight-game ban and £40,000 fine the striker was handed on December 20 for racially abusing Patrice Evra.

    The ban comes amidst heavy criticism by Kenny Dalglish of the FA in their handling of supporters who boo and abuse players during games.

    An FA statement read:

    Liverpool Football Club have been fined £20,000 by the FA and warned as to their future conduct for failing to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion during the league fixture at Fulham on 5 December 2011.

    The club admitted the charge, which was in relation to the dismissal of Jay Spearing, but did not accept the standard £20,000 penalty for the offence. However, at an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing today [Wednesday 28 December] the fine was imposed.

    Meanwhile, Liverpool player Luis Suarez will begin a one match suspension with immediate effect after he admitted an FA charge of improper conduct in relation to the same game.

    Suarez was also fined £20,000 and warned as to his future conduct following a gesture he made towards the Fulham fans at the end of the fixture.

December 31: The FA, Suarez Gave Inconsistent Evidence

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    On New Year's Eve at around 18.00, the FA released its findings from the Luis Suarez disciplinary case. The document, a 115-page behemoth, explained the reasons why and how the FA came to their decision.

    The FA faced criticism from media outlets for their strange timing of the release of the documents, as most newspapers had already gone to print for the following day, and it would be a further two to three days before most commentators had their chance to respond to the findings.

    The Independent Commission found that Luis Suarez had given "unreliable" and "inconsistent" evidence and that his argument based around the friendly use of "negro" was "unsustainable." The report went further into this aspect by saying, "Given the number of times that Mr Suarez used the word 'negro', his conduct is significantly more serious than a one-off use of a racially offensive term and amounts to an aggravating factor."

    Eighty-one pages of the document deal with the incident where Luis Suarez called Patrice Evra a "negro."

    The sections that most fans will be interested in begin at point 89 on page 27, they read as:

    89. Mr Evra told us that he then said to Mr Suarez "Porque me diste un golpe", meaning "Why did you kick me?". The video footage shows that Mr Evra looked down at his knee then at Mr Suarez's face as he asked this question, which does support his evidence that he asked a question about being kicked in the knee. Mr Evra said that, when he asked that question, he was in shock and upset at having been kicked in the knee by Mr Suarez. Mr Suarez agrees that, at this point, Mr Evra asked him why he had kicked him, referring to the earlier foul. That is largely the end of the agreement between them as to what was said in the goalmouth.

    90. Mr Evra's evidence was that, in response to his question "Why did you kick me?", Mr Suarez replied "Porque tu eres negro". Mr Evra said that at the time Mr Suarez made that comment, he (Mr Evra) understood it to mean "Because you are a nigger". He now says that he believes the words used by Mr Suarez mean "Because you are black". We shall consider further below Mr Evra's understanding of the Spanish word "negro."

    91. Mr Suarez said that he replied to Mr Evra's question "Why did you kick me?" by saying "que habia sido una falta normal", meaning "it was just a normal foul". He said he
    shrugged his shoulders and put his arms out in a gesture to say that there was nothing
    serious about it. At this point on the video footage, Mr Suarez's face is obscured, but he
    does appear to shrug his shoulders.

    92. Mr Evra said that he followed up Mr Suarez's reply "Because you are black" by saying "Habla otra vez asi, te voy a dar una porrada", which means "Say it to me again, I'm going to punch you". Mr Suarez replied by saying "No hablo con los negros". Mr Evra said that, at the time, he understood this to mean "I don't speak to niggers", although he now says it means "I don't speak to blacks."

    93. Mr Suarez's evidence was that Mr Evra replied to the comment "it was just a normal foul" by saying "Ok, you kicked me, I'm going to kick you". Mr Suarez said in his witness statement that his response was "Le dije que se callara e hice un gesto breve con mi mano izquierda parecido a la mocion de un "pato cuando hace cuac" para indicarle que hablaba mucho y deberia callarse", which was translated as "I told him to shut up and made a brief gesture with my left hand like a "quacking" motion as if to say he was talking too much and should be quiet."

    94. Mr Evra said that after Mr Suarez said "I don't speak to blacks," he (Mr Evra) said "Ahora te voy a dar realmente una porrada", which means "Okay, now I think I'm going to punch you." To this he says that Mr Suarez replied "Dale, negro...negro...negro". At the time, Mr Evra understood this to mean "Okay, nigger, nigger, nigger". He now says it means "Okay, blackie, blackie, blackie". The expert witnesses stated that the phrase "Dale, negro" can be understood as "Bring it on, blackie" or "do it, blackie" or "go ahead, blackie" (see paragraph 184 below).

    95. Mr Evra said that as Mr Suarez was speaking he reached out to touch Mr Evra's arm, gesturing at his skin. Mr Evra said that Mr Suarez was drawing attention to the colour of Mr Evra's skin. This gesture is clearly shown on the video footage, just as Mr Kuyt comes between them. It seemed to us that Mr Suarez reached out and pinched Mr Evra's left forearm. In cross-examination, Mr Evra said that at the time he did not realise that Mr Suarez had pinched his arm. He was more focused on his lips and what he was saying. Mr Evra only realised that Mr Suarez had touched his arm in this way when he saw the video footage later.

    96. As to the pinching of Mr Evra's arm, Mr Suarez said this in paragraph 27 of his witness statement: "Evra did not back off and Dirk Kuyt was approaching us to stand between us. At this point I touched PE's left arm in a pinching type movement. This all happened very quickly. I was trying to defuse the situation and was trying to intimate to Evra that he was not untouchable by reference to his question about the foul. Under no circumstances was this action intended to be offensive and most certainly not racially offensive. It was not in any way a reference to the colour of PE's skin.”

    97. Mr Suarez said that at no point did he use the word "negro" during the exchange with Mr Evra in the goalmouth.

    98. At the time of these exchanges, there were other players in the six-yard box. These
    included David De Gea, the Manchester United goalkeeper, Jonny Evans, the Manchester United defender who was marking Dirk Kuyt, and Mr Kuyt himself. Mr De Gea, who is Spanish, said that he did not hear any exchange between Mr Evra and Mr Suarez. It is clear that there was an exchange of some sort between Mr Evra and Mr Suarez. We found it unsurprising that Mr De Gea did not hear any exchange. He appears from the video footage to be focused on the corner, and looking mainly in that direction. Mr Kuyt said that he could not hear what was being said by Mr Evra and Mr Suarez but it seemed clear to him that Mr Evra was trying to provoke Mr Suarez so he (Mr Kuyt) stepped between them and told Mr Evra to leave Mr Suarez alone.

    99. Mr Evra's evidence is that up to this point Mr Suarez had used the word "negro" or
    “negros” five times in the goalmouth: "Because you are black", "I don't speak to blacks"
    and "Okay, blackie, blackie, blackie."

January 2: FARE Warn Liverpool Against Appealing Luis Suarez's Ban

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    Piara Power, the head of Football Against Racism in Europe, has warned Liverpool FC against appealing the FA's decision to ban Luis Suarez for racist abuse and that further appeals could damage their global brand further.

    He said:

    Luis Suarez and Liverpool FC have the right to appeal, however we would call on the club to think again about their public campaign to dispute the charges and contest the principles involved in the case.

    As a club with a good international standing, the vehemence of their campaign is unquestionably causing them reputational harm.

January 3: Liverpool FC and Luis Suarez Will Not Appeal the FA Decision

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    Liverpool FC and Luis Suarez have decided not to appeal the FA's decision to ban the Uruguayan for eight games and to fine him for £40,000.

    In strongly worded statements, they let their feelings on the matter be known.

    The statements follow on the next two slides.

January 3: Luis Suarez Statement

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    From Liverpool.tv:

    First of all I would like to thank everyone so much for all the help and support I have received during these last few weeks.

    Thank you to my family, my friends and everybody at LFC (the staff, manager and coaching staff, the directors, my teammates and everyone who is working on a daily basis for this great club) and thank you especially to all the fans who made sure I never felt let down for one second. During those days I understood more than ever what 'You'll Never Walk Alone' means.

    Like many of you I was born into a very humble family, in a working class neighbourhood, in a small country. But I was born and raised learning what respect, manners and sacrifice mean. Thanks to my family, from my first club where I started playing, to my transfer to Holland in Europe, I learned the values which made me the person I am now. Never, I repeat, never, have I had any racial problem with a teammate or individual who was of a different race or colour to mine. Never.

    I am very upset by all the things which have been said during the last few weeks about me, all of them being very far from the truth. But above all, I'm very upset at feeling so powerless whilst being accused of something which I did not, nor would not, ever do.

    In my country, 'negro' is a word we use commonly, a word which doesn't show any lack of respect and is even less so a form of racist abuse.  Based on this, everything which has been said so far is totally false.

    I will carry out the suspension with the resignation of someone who hasn't done anything wrong and who feels extremely upset by the events.

    I do feel sorry for the fans and for my teammates whom I will not be able to help during the next month. It will be a very difficult time for me.

    The only thing I wish for at the moment is being able to run out again at Anfield and to do what I like most which is playing football.

    Thank you very much.

    YNWA

January 3: Liverpool FC Statement

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    From Liverpool.tv:

    It is our strongly held conviction that the Football Association and the panel it selected constructed a highly subjective case against Luis Suarez based on an accusation that was ultimately unsubstantiated.

    The FA and the panel chose to consistently and methodically accept and embrace arguments leading to a set of conclusions that found Mr. Suarez to "probably" be guilty while in the same manner deciding to completely dismiss the testimony that countered their overall suppositions.

    Mr. Evra was deemed to be credible in spite of admitting that he himself used insulting and threatening words towards Luis and that his initial charge as to the word used was somehow a mistake.

    The facts in this case were that an accusation was made, a rebuttal was given and there was video of the match.  The remaining facts came from testimony of people who did not corroborate any accusation made by Mr. Evra.

    In its determination to prove its conclusions to the public through a clearly subjective 115-page document, the FA panel has damaged the reputation of one of the Premier League's best players, deciding he should be punished and banned for perhaps a quarter of a season.  This case has also provided a template in which a club's rival can bring about a significant ban for a top player without anything beyond an accusation.

    Nevertheless, there are ultimately larger issues than whether or not Luis Suarez has been treated fairly by the Football Association in this matter.  There are important points we want to make today that overshadow what has occurred during the past two months.

    The issue of race in sports, as in other industries, has a very poor history. Far too often, and in far too many countries, the issues of racism and discrimination have been covered over or ignored.

    In America, where Liverpool ownership resides, there was a shameful bigotry that prevented black athletes from competing at the highest levels for decades.

    English football has led the world in welcoming all nationalities and creeds into its Premier League and its leagues below, and Liverpool Football Club itself has been a leader in taking a progressive stance on issues of race and inclusion.  The Luis Suarez case has to end so that the Premier League, the Football Association and the Club can continue the progress that has been made and will continue to be made and not risk a perception, at least by some, that would diminish our commitment on these issues.

    Liverpool Football Club have supported Luis Suarez because we fundamentally do not believe that Luis on that day - or frankly any other - did or would engage in a racist act. Notably, his actions on and off the pitch with his teammates and in the community have demonstrated his belief that all athletes can play together and that the colour of a person's skin is irrelevant.

    Continuing a fight for justice in this particular case beyond today would only obscure the fact that the Club wholeheartedly supports the efforts of the Football Association, the Football League and the Premier League to put an end to any form of racism in English football.

    It is time to put the Luis Suarez matter to rest and for all of us, going forward, to work together to stamp out racism in every form both inside and outside the sport.

    It is for this reason that we will not appeal the eight-game suspension of Luis Suarez.

January 3: Stuart Gilhooly, PFAI Solicitor, Questions the FA Decision

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    Stuart Gilhooly is the solicitor for the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland, and in a blog on January 3 the Journalist of the Year questioned the Independent Commission's decision to ban Luis Suarez for making racist comments.

    It seems as though Liverpool and Luis Suarez have finally closed the door on an unsavoury episode in their history and that of the English FA.  Not without slamming it shut, mind, and taking the hinges as they went.  With great reluctance, and no little chutzpah, both parties have conceded defeat but heavily indicated that they feel a huge injustice has been done.

    While this case isn't quite the Birmingham Six or the Guildford Four and it's unlikely Daniel Day Lewis will be claiming he is an innocent man in Rioplatense Spanish anytime soon, there are flaws in the decision which would render them a reasonable chance of success on appeal.  Although it's no longer of huge significance, this is a saga which is likely to rumble on and I thought it might be useful to examine the areas where the FA regulatory commission has erred so at least we have a flavour of from where Liverpool and Suarez's grievances emanate.

    He went to examine the 115-page document and to ask:

    The Suarez case is unique in its complexity but in the end it comes down to some fairly basic questions.

    1. What is the burden of proof?

    2. Did Suarez use the word "negro" and, if so, how often?

    3. If he did use this word, what should the punishment be?

    He ends the thoughtful article by wondering aloud why Liverpool and Luis Suarez did not act contrite right from the beginning of the case and how their subsequent stances forced the FA to act possibly harsher than they should have.

    However, as we now know, he chose the worst of both worlds.  He chose to take the ban on the chin and still proclaim his innocence.  He might well argue that he can't expect justice from a body he considered biased from the outset but it's difficult to expect public sympathy when you don't exhaust all of the procedures.  In a nutshell, football considerations intervened and, with Suarez initially unwilling to show any contrition at the time, Liverpool no doubt felt the chances of reducing the ban were slim.  His subsequent apology (of sorts) does beg the question as to why this wasn't possible earlier.

    Of course, we will, most likely, never know what went on behind the scenes in this fiasco but it appears as though Liverpool and Suarez are the losers.  It didn't have to be that way.

    To read the article in full, click here.

January 4: Kenny Dalglish Defends Liverpool's Conduct During the Suarez Affair

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    Following Liverpool's 3-0 defeat to Manchester City, the first game of Luis Suarez's eight match ban, Kenny Dalglish took the chance to defend his clubs conduct since October and implied that the there was more information on the case that the FA had not released.

    The Liverpool boss said, "Luis has made a brilliant statement and we stand by him.

    "There are a lot of things we'd like to say and a lot of things we could say but we don't want to get ourselves into trouble.

    "We know what has gone on. We know what is not in the report and that is important for us.

    "It is unfortunate that you don't actually know the whole content of what went on at the hearing. I cannot go any further."

    Dalglish then went one step further by commenting upon the nuances of linguistics, upon which the case rested as far as he was concerned.

    "I would have thought that if you pronounced the word properly, you maybe understand it better."

    "If you get into asking a linguistic expert, which certainly I am not, they will tell you that the part of the country in Uruguay where he [Suarez] comes from, it is perfectly acceptable.

    "His wife calls him that and I don't think he is offended by her."

    He then defended the clubs decision to allow the players to wear t-shirts in support of Suarez, saying;

    "If one of your guys was in trouble would you help and support him if you knew it was the truth and you knew it was right?" he asked.

    "If they want to show their support for their team-mate, what is wrong with that? I think it is a fabulous statement to make visually of your support for a guy who is endeared in the dressing room."

    "I don't think we are digging a bigger hole - it is unfortunate we cannot be more forthcoming."

January 4: Jason Roberts: Liverpool's Defence of Suarez Damages Their Reputation

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    Jason Roberts, Reading striker, BBC football presenter, member management committee of the PFA and well known supporter of the Kick It Out campaign (footballs campaign against racism) warned Liverpool that further defence of Luis Suarez will further damage their already damaged reputation.

    The well respected pundit said, "Liverpool's stance of saying 'he's done nothing wrong' goes against the spirit of our league. When you read the report, it's quite ugly."

    "Liverpool must think long and hard about how they are perceiving this.

    "They are a proud club with lots of fans of different cultures and nationalities and it's important to think about how they would feel about being treated in the same way.

    "Knowing people are from different nationalities and have different cultures is an important part of building your brand. [but] you also have to know that players certainly don't accept being spoken to in that way."

    Perhaps answering Kenny Dalglish's comments of the previous day, the striker said;

    "To use those words in that tone and context is certainly not acceptable in our leagues.

    "It's not good enough to say, 'It's OK where I come from, so we do it here'. That's not the way we judge our society or the Premier League. They were ugly scenes and I'm worried that kids would have seen this.

    "This is something that has to be told to everyone - it's not tolerated, especially in our leagues, as diverse as they are.

    "He [Suarez] should have been educated, that's certainly something that's come out of this.

    "If you're going to come and play in the Premier League and live in our society, it's important that you understand the rules we abide by.

    "Anyone who understands the culture here knows you wouldn't use those words, certainly not in the context in which they were used."

    "I'm more worried about how Patrice Evra has felt about the whole thing," he said.

    "Not enough people have spoken about him and the issues he went through. Yes, he said some things back to Suarez and there was an argument, but he would have felt incensed by what was said and rightly so."

January 4: Luis Suarez Says Sorry, but Not to Patrice Evra

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    On January 4, Luis Suarez issued a brief public apology.

    However, the most significant part of this statement was that the Liverpool player did not apologise to Patrice Evra, the player he offended on October 15 and that he questioned the integrity of the commission by saying he only used the word "negro" once when the commission found he had used it several times.

    "I admitted to the commission that I said a word in Spanish once and only once. I told the panel members that I will not use it again on a football pitch in England.

    "I never, ever used this word in a derogatory way and if it offends anyone then I want to apologise for that.’

January 4: Gordon Taylor: Luis Suarez Ban Is a Lesson for Football

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    Professional Footballers Association chief executive Gordon Taylor spoke to Sky Sports News and said that lessons had been learned and that the FA had made a huge statement for all the game to see. He said: "It's a lesson to all of us...that all players coming into our game from different countries understand and accept what we are about - equality and diversity.

    "We have had 20 or 30 years of campaigning against racism. I hope we can move on from this and learn our lessons."

    "Any reference to the colour of a person's skin has to be eradicated. In the heat of battle things can be said, but sometimes they go beyond what's acceptable.

    "We have got probably the most multi-cultural game in the world so it's important to set the right example.

    "We don't want him (Evra) feeling a victim.

    "We want our black players to feel comfortable that racism can be dealt with in football terms, as well as the law of the land.

    "Some issues are bigger than a player, the club or the game and racism is one of those.

    "We have to learn from it and there should be no misunderstanding or ambiguity in the future.

    "You don't want such issues to divide clubs or society. We're all in a football family but we're all under the law of the land.

    "Once a penalty has been paid and carried out we move on in a positive manner to make sure the penalty acts as a deterrent. The educational process continues."

    "We've treated it a lot more seriously than that.

    "Racism is a serious issue. There was a big court case yesterday which proved that and we want sport to set the best possible example.

January 4: Luis Suarez's Mum Defends Her Son

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    Speaking in Montevideo, Uruguay, Sandra Suarez defended her son against the FA's eight-game ban for racist abuse.

    “The truth is that I laugh when they call my son racist,” she said.  “Nothing could be further from the truth.

    “It's a shame because it had been a perfect year for Luis.”

    “I know my son,” she added.

    “I know he has to calm down a bit with things like the salute he made to rival fans. But he's no racist.

    “One thing is his conduct on the pitch and another is that they accuse him of being a racist. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    “I'm worried now when I see him on the pitch. I know he's going to have to look after himself.

    “I'm very worried about his future. He has his whole future in front of him and there's a stain on his character. I hope this will strengthen his character and serve as a lesson.

    “The FA went to town with him by banning him for eight matches.”

January 5: Lord Ouseley: LFC and Suarex Are Lamentable, Dreadful & Hypocritical

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    Lord Herman Ouseley, the Chairman for the Commission on Racial Equality between 1993 and 2000 wrote a strongly worded opinion piece in the Guardian on January 5 where he heavily criticised Liverpool and Luis Suarez for their conduct and handling of the whole affair since October 15.

    He called Suarez's apology "lamentable," Liverpool's decision to wear t-shirts in support of the player as "dreadful" and that the club were highly "hypocritical" in every way they handled the affair.

    Here is the article from the Guardian in full.

    Liverpool FC need to take a hard look at themselves and how they have responded to the complaint and the investigations into the allegations of abuse in the Patrice Evra/Luis Suárez case.

    Throughout the entirety of the proceedings, over the past three months, all we have heard are denials and denigration of Evra. Since the publication of the 115-page report of the findings of the FA's independent commission, Liverpool's vitriol has increased. Suárez's attempt at a belated apology is nothing short of lamentable. I cannot believe that a club of Liverpool's stature, and with how it has previously led on matters of social injustice and inequality, can allow its integrity and credibility to be debased by such crass and ill‑considered responses.

    At such a historic time in Britain, Doreen and Neville Lawrence have taught and inspired us never to give up the fight for equality, justice and fair treatment following Wednesday's sentencing of Gary Dobson and David Norris for the murder of their son Stephen Lawrence in 1993.

    With all these things, you come out of it with more credit if you hold your hands up. OK, Liverpool may have thought they had to defend their player as he is innocent. But if the club does not carry out a thorough investigation, how can it understand that Suárez said things which are not acceptable, but that he didn't comprehend this due to his background?

    If this is the case, Liverpool have failed him. Because they have not told Suárez what the club's expectations are; that they have a zero policy towards racism. If he is ignorant of what is required of him, Liverpool should be asking: how come we have got a contract with the player?

    Unless, of course, Liverpool are saying that they have explained to Suárez what the club want and he has defied them.

    In any other sector, if someone makes a claim of racially motivated or abusive behaviour, an employer has to investigate if they are competent because this may be damaging to the business. Clubs in these cases don't seem to be. And when it's a high-profile incident involving a big-name player, they want to say, unequivocally, we defend our player 100%. Why are people not showing leadership and apologising, saying that we won't do it again, and ask that they can move on?

    Liverpool have been particularly hypocritical. You can't on the one hand wear a Kick It Out T-shirt in a week of campaigning against racism when this is also happening on the pitch: it's the height of hypocrisy. Liverpool players wore a T-shirt saying: "We support Luis Suárez", seemingly whatever the outcome. This was a dreadful knee-jerk reaction because it stirs things up.

    And, then, this was followed, after the verdict, with a kind of stance that says: "Hey, we support anti-racism and Kick It Out. But we're not sorry. All we are really saying is that we blame someone else, not us."

    In the wider context of racism throughout our society there are issues. Undoubtedly there are still areas in this country you would not feel comfortable being in, and that is not just on grounds of potentially being racially abused.

    I do think that the police service is much better than it was in 1993, when Stephen Lawrence was murdered. You can actually raise matters of race in a police station and get a degree of sensitivity that gives you comfort that you are going to be treated in a fair manner.

    What we've got to do is keep building on that. We had the MacPherson Report in 1999, which rolled into the Race Relations Act of 2000 and then things did move forward, but there's been a rolling back regarding equality since 2005, due to the reaction to the July bombings in London. And this has continued with the present government and the suspicion that is held of a multicultural society. It's important that we sharpen up our focus regarding these matters.

    This is a momentous time for us. Four million people play football in this country and this weekend there will be many kids in parks and on pitches: they need to know that if they misbehave, they can't get away with it. That is the big issue.

    Since the incident we've not heard a word of complaint from Evra about how his character has been besmirched by Liverpool. This is surely something the FA and the PFA and the whole of football should be concerned about: we can't have a situation where there is just one side on the attack.

    Surely the new owners, with their experiences of equality and inclusion in the US, can see how their brand is being devalued, and if they sanction this sort of lack of professionalism and moral leadership, we may as well pack up and go home and forget about anti‑racism.

    The FA has shown that it has the bottle to back its Respect campaign by enforcing rules and regulations with regard to unacceptable behaviour and conduct. We have a duty and responsibility to demonstrate to the world how we deal with this issue. It's fine to criticise Fifa and Uefa but let's show we can take care of our own business.

    The future of football needs such strong and decisive leadership, especially for the next generation of young people who play the game across the country. Let's remove all racists and bigots from football.

January 5: PFA to Introduce Race Awareness Sessions for Players

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    PFA Assistant Chief Bobby Barnes has intimated that the PFA are looking at extending race awareness sessions to include adult professionals as well as teenage scholars after the Luis Suarez affair exposed a loophole in their training systems. He said, "Players need to be aware of what is and isn't acceptable. These sessions have certainly benefited scholars."

    "It's very important that players, especially foreign players, are aware of cultural differences and of the different buttons that will upset people in our leagues,"

    "It's down to the clubs and ourselves to educate players about this."

    "This is a changing world," said the ex-West Ham player. "When I was playing, it was deemed acceptable to describe black players as coloured or half-caste, but it isn't now."

January 5: Liverpool Want Peace Talks with United Ahead of Feb 11 EPL Game

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    Ahead of Luis Suarez's return from his eight game ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra, Liverpool went to the media and suggested that both clubs should meet up for peace talks.

    The tie has become a full blown derby over recent years even though the two clubs are separated by some 55km.

    The hatred between the two clubs has magnified over the last number of years as Manchester United surpassed Liverpool's record of having won 18 league titles and it has become a regular occurrence for both sets of fans to goad each other and chant about about each others rich and tragic past.

    Liverpool fans regularly chant about the famous Munich Air Disaster while United's fans chant about Hillsborough. Neither set of supporters have covered themselves in glory in this regard.

    Ahead of the game and fully conscious that Luis Suarez may get singled out for abuse from United fans, Liverpool and Kenny Dalglish want the two clubs to meet to clear the air ahead of the February 11 game.

January 6: Alex Ferguson: No to Peace Talks

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    Liverpool's hopes of meeting with Manchester United for peace talks ahead of the February 11 game between the two sides was dealt a blow today after Sir Alex Ferguson refused to consider the possible meeting.

    "It is nice of them to do it through the press.

    "You would have thought they would come to Manchester United first?

    "I do not see why there is any need for it but I have nothing to say about it," the Scot said.

January 6: Liverpool FC to Investigate Racist Abuse of Oldham Player at Anfield

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    Following Liverpool's 5-1 win over Oldham Athletic at Anfield, Merseyside Police and the club have begun an investigation after Oldham defender Tom Adeyemi was racially abused by a section of the Liverpool crowd.

    Play was halted after Adeyemi went to retrieve a ball that had gone out past the by line was racially abused. The player was visibly upset by the manner of the abuse which Police described as "racially aggravated."

    A witness who gave evidence to Liverpool officials and the police said: "I was to the right of the Kop and the No11 turned to walk away after a tackle. I heard a single voice shout, 'You f****** black bastard.' He spun round with shock on his face and started pointing at the crowd, from where the shout had come."

    After the game Liverpool FC issued a brief statement;

    "Liverpool Football Club continue to work closely with Merseyside Police to establish all the facts surrounding the incident that occurred during last night's game.

    "We take this matter extremely seriously and have today provided the police with the evidence we currently have available to us.

    "This includes CCTV coverage and still photography of what we believe to be the relevant part of the stadium, statements from match-day stewards in that area and full access to all the footage captured by the cameras filming the match for our in-house TV operation.

    "In addition, we have examined records of the tickets purchased in that part of the ground to see if they provide any additional information and have passed that on to the police.

    "Finally, we would also urge any of our supporters who witnessed this incident or saw the individual involved and who have not already done so, to contact either the club or the police."

January 7: Man Arrested for Racist Abuse of Tom Adeyemi

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    Police today arrested a 20-year-old man in connection with the aggravated racial abuse of Tom Adeyemi at Anfield on January 6.

January 8: Liverpool Draw Manchester United in FA Cup 4th Round

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    Having knocked out Oldham Athletic and Manchester City respectively, Liverpool drew Manchester United for the 4th Round of the FA Cup.

    The game on January 28 would be the first time the two clubs have met since Luis Suarez racially abused Patrice Evra and comes well ahead of the February 11 league game where the striker is expected to make his playing return.

January 8: FARE Chief Criticizes Liverpool for Tribal Fervour over Suarez Affair

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    On Sunday, Piara Powar, the head of Football Against Racism in Europe told the Sportsweek programme on BBC Radio Five Live:

    "The environment at Anfield is so driven - in terms of the paranoia that some fans feel - by expressions of injustice from Liverpool, especially over the last few weeks."

    He renewed his criticism, adding:

    "If you look at the comments Dalglish has been making, if you look at how Liverpool resort to defending what they see as an injustice, look at the way their fans have been whipped up into a tribal fervour.

    "Some of the words being used to describe the FA and its role in governance on these sort of issues, that is really beyond the pale."

    "There is a wider issue here of the way Liverpool have dealt with this and it has disconcerted many observers. It is a constant undermining of the FA's role as the governing body in football."

    Powar is very concerned about the high levels towards abuse sports stars on social networking websites  in which" fans feel they can get on something like Twitter and make comments without accountability".

    He stressed: "There is nobody touching them on their shoulder looking at their comments and saying, 'No, that is not what is acceptable'."

    "I don't think the situation has been worse than it's been for a long time but we are dealing with difficult issues here between players and the way in which the clubs have responded."

January 10: Kenny Dalglish Responds to Anti-Racism Group Criticism

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    Having been heavily criticised by media and anti-racism groups Kenny Dalglish responded by going on Liverpoolfc.tv  to say"Over the past few weeks there has been a perception that the football club isn’t doing what it should be doing, but I don’t think the football club would ever go down that road.

    “We will always support the official campaigns related to racism.”

    “Obviously there was a big issue with Luis. The players showed support for Luis which was fantastic, but then some people interpreted that wrongly as the players saying they’re not interested in the fight against racism.

    “That is totally and utterly rubbish.

    "If we can help to eradicate racism or discrimination from any part of the society, with the help of anybody at Liverpool Football Club, then that help will be forthcoming.

    “We don’t want racism anywhere near football and certainly not anywhere near this football club.”

January 14: Liverpool Director Ian Ayre Responds to Anti Racism Group Criticism

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    Liverpool Director, Ian Ayre, responded to criticism of his club by going on BBC Five Live and conducting an interview where he defended the clubs stance over the Luis Suarez affair.

    He reacted to a growing perception that Liverpool FC has not acted in a right and proper manner regarding racism. He said, "there has been a perception the club isn't doing what it should be doing," he said.

    "The players showed support for Luis which was fantastic but then some people interpreted that wrongly as the players saying they're not interested in the fight against racism. That is totally and utterly rubbish."

January 27: Luis Suarez Taking English Lessons to Avoid Repeat of Race Row

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    The Daily Mail reported this world exclusive on January 27.

    Seemingly, Liverpool and Luis Suarez are anxious that the recent race row which has embroiled the club for almost six months will not be repeated any time soon by enlisting the Uruguayan international in English classes to improve his uptake and understanding of the language and culture in England.

January 27: Sir Alex Ferguson Writes to Manchester United Fans to Urge Calm

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    Sir Alex Ferguson wrote a letter to all travelling Manchester United fans ahead of their FA Cup game with Liverpool urging calm and asking them to protect the integrity of the club.

    In the letter he said; "I wrote to fans attending the away match in October urging them to co-operate with stewards and officials at Liverpool, so we can make a strong case for restoring our allocation for future United games at Anfield," said the letter from Ferguson.

    "The fans did almost everything asked of them that day and, as a result, we have a much improved allocation for this important FA Cup tie.

    "Please do everything you can to continue that good work and protect next season's allocation."

January 27: John Barnes: Liverpool Fans Can Boo Evra as Long as Its Not Racist

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    John Barnes, speaking on behalf of Budweiser - the sponsor of the FA Cup, was at a pre-match press conference when the subject invariably turned towards Luis Susrez's racist abuse of Patrice Evra and subsequent ban.

    Barnes, who played for Liverpool during the dark racist days of the '80s where players were systematically abused every single game without sanction. The ex-player whose biography famously has a picture of him back-flicking a banana was asked if Liverpool fans should boo the Manchester United defender during the game and he had this to say;

    "It will be nothing Patrice Evra hasn't had before," he said. "He's going to get booed and, as long as it doesn't take on racial connotations, it's not a problem.

    "We've been through it so often and we can't come up with a definition of what abuse can be thrown out and what can't.

    "But abuse of players is going to happen, Evra knows that - and I think he thrives on that.

    "It might affect some players, but I don't think it will affect Evra. From what I know of him and his character, he will probably thrive on it.

    "There are certain players that you would think might not be able to handle what's going to come their way. But, from United's point of view, I'm sure Evra will go out there and perform like he always has done."

    "And not just because it may be the culture in South America. It's less of insult because ignorance is an excuse.

    "Go back 25 or 30 years and no-one said a word against it [racism]. Were they ignorant of it? They must have known it was wrong. So ignorance then was an excuse.

    "Now, 30 years later, when we have have become more tolerant racially and we hear Emile Heskey being racially abused in places like Macedonia, do we now look at them and say, 'Ignorance isn't an excuse' when 25 years ago we were saying it was?

    "So are we now saying ignorance was an excuse back then but now it's not because it suits us?

    "Look at Roberto Mancini with the imaginary card waving. It's in the Italian culture. He apologised the first time he did it then, in the next game, in the heat of the moment, he did it again.

    "To this day he doesn't think there is anything wrong with it, so cultural differences are an excuse. So, as much as you say you can't do this or that, in the heat of the moment you do things.

    "For all that, the process and the fact that the commission found in favour of Evra, it's still his word against Suarez's word, and I don't know who was right or wrong.

    "I can't say Suarez is 100 per cent innocent, because I've never spoken to him about the incident. I can only go on the process that I've heard from Liverpool."

    "You get dog's abuse everywhere you go for United, so it makes no difference," he said. "When you're playing away from home for United, where don't you get dog's abuse? You expect it.

    "There will be added spice about what's happened, but that's been dealt with rightly. Fans can boo players as much as they like, as long as it's not racist or homophobic."

January 28: Managers Call for Calm Ahead of Man United vs Liverpool Game

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    Ahead of their FA Cup 4th Round Tie, and the first time the two clubs have met since Luis Suarez racially abused Patrice Evra, Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool Director Ian Ayre and Sir Alex Ferguson have called upon both sets of fans to show restraint.

    Dalglish in particular has been scathing of the FA in recent times and has called upon the association to take action against fans who boo players continuously.

    Liverpool's supremo Kenny Dalglish said: "We have a responsibility to behave."

    Manchester United's manager Sir Alex Ferguson added: "We want to make sure we are talking about the game, nothing else."

    "There is a responsibility on the players to behave properly and both sets of fans."

    "Obviously everybody has a responsibility to hold up the name of their respective clubs," he added.

    "For us, we want to concentrate on playing football and any other sideshow is purely that - it's just a sideshow.

    "I'm sure everyone will be determined to make sure what's done has been done. Whatever the grievances , keep it to yourself, and lets get on with the game."

    "It is a massive game for both clubs. There is a tremendous profile on it," said Ferguson.

    "I am confident. We want to talk about the game of football. It is something you want to look forward to. That is what I intend to do.

    "Our fans were terrific there this season.

    "The stewards have a difficult enough job as it is. We should be helping."

January 28: Kenny Dalglish Praises Supporters After Booing Evra Throughout Match

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    Kenny Dalglish has praised Liverpool's supporters for their behaviour during the Reds FA Cup triumph over Manchester United, even though they booed, jeered and barracked Patrice Evra's every touch during the game at Anfield.

    Before the game, stalls around Anfield began selling Luis Suarez masks for Liverpool fans and commemorative scarves showing a red Liverpool side and a black Manchester United side. The dour affair ended 2-1 to Liverpool after Dirk Kuyt scored a late winner for the Reds.

    There was little trouble between fans, with just 17 fans being ejected for minor offences, while Police monitored all CCTV footage after the game to make sure it passed without incident.

    After the game the Liverpool boss, unaware of the Police investigation into Evra being racially abused by a fan, said, "there was a wee bit of banter between both fans which is brilliant because we wouldn't want to take that away.

    "At the end of the day I thought they were fantastic. The players were a great credit for that as well - none of them tried to do anything other than play football.

    "The media played its part in going through the process in the week to try and maintain dignity and respect on the football pitch, and concentrate on the football.

    "That's what they did, that's what the players did and it's what the fans did.

    "The fans are entitled to support their team - absolutely no problem. A bit of banter between two teams - brilliant.

    "I don't think there was anything there that was untoward."

January 29: Police Arrest Fan Making Rasict Gestures Towards Evra During Cup Tie

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    For the second FA Cup game in a row involving Liverpool FC, a man has been arrested for racial abuse of a player.

    On January 7, Merseyside Police arrested a 20-year-old man in relation to racially abusing Tom Adeyemi in Liverpool's 5-1 win over Oldham. Today, January 29, Merseyside Police arrested a 59-year-old man after reviewing CCTV footage that showed the man in question making alleged racist gestures towards Patrice Evra.

    A Police official said, "The man has been taken to a police station and will be questioned by officers.

    "Merseyside Police would like to thank North Wales Police and Liverpool Football Club for their assistance with this matter."

    "We take all forms of offensive behaviour seriously, and we will always thoroughly investigate such claims.

    "We cannot allow this type of behaviour to affect the enjoyment of genuine fans.

    "We will continue with our efforts to deal with the small number of individuals who commit offences at football matches, in particular, with the continued use of football-banning orders."

January 30: Liverpool FC Apologise After Website Shows Racist Incident

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    Liverpool FC have apologised to anyone who was offended after a fan making a racist gesture to Patrice Evra was included in the clubs official website highlights package of the match between Liverpool and Manchester United which the Reds won 2-1.

    A spokesman for Liverpool FC told BBC Sport:

    "We can confirm that footage was mistakenly included in the highlights package that appeared on the website.

    "It should not have been included and we are sorry it happened."

    "It was removed immediately when it was brought to our attention."

Januaray 30: PFA Boss Gordon Taylor Slams Liverpool Fans for Booing Evra

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    Gordon Taylor, the Chief Executive of the PFA, was unequivocal in his criticism of Liverpool fans after they booed Patrice Evra's every touch during Manchester United's 2-1 defeat to Liverpool.

    He told Sky Sports News; "The booing of Evra was unwelcome. For someone to be booed for reporting racist comments is not something we want to see happening.

    "Black players may be worried about reporting such things, if there is going to be a backlash like this. The game must do all it can to eradicate it."

February 6: Kenny Dalglish Says Luis Suarez Should Never Have Been Banned

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    Speaking to the media after Luis Suarez made a 66th minute return against Tottenham Hotspur, a dreadful 0-0 draw in which the Uruguayan was lucky not to be sent off,  the strikers first game since December. Kenny Dalglish maintains the players innocence and that he should have never been banned in the first place.

    "It's fantastic to have him back. He should never have been out in the first place," said Dalglish.

    "Luis Suarez doesn't have anything to prove to anyone at Liverpool FC."

February 6: Luis Suarez Tweets Upon Return to Football

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    The Uruguayan striker made his return to action in the 0-0 bore draw against Tottenham Hotspur and tweeted to fans afterwards.

    Suarez used his Twitter Feed to say:  "[A] special night after I could play again with my team-mates. A pity we couldn't get the 3 points. Now it's time to add minutes little by little!"

February 9: Kenny Dalglish Calls Upon Everyone to Move on After Suarez Affair

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    In the lead up to Liverpool's trip to Old Trafford on February 11, Kenny Dalglish has called upon everyone, the players, the media, the supporters and Patrice Evra to move on and let the whole affair, which begun on October 15, end.

    “Everyone involved," he said,"including the media, the supporters and both teams have a responsibility to ensure this weekend is remembered as a cracking game of football between two very good sides, rather than for anything else,” he said.

    “I thought everyone involved in the FA Cup tie at Anfield played their part in making sure that the match was played in the right way, so let’s make sure that happens again this weekend.

    “I’m sure people will want to talk about Luis Suarez, but he accepted his ban, served his suspension and returned. It’s time for all of us to draw a line and move forward.

    “People are already speculating on the pre-match ceremony, but from Luis’s point of view we have spoken to him and I know he will shake the hand of Patrice Evra and the other Manchester United players before the game.”



February 10: Managers Play Down Evra/Suarez Effect on Feb 11 Match

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    In their Friday pre-match press conferences both managers played down any chance that either set of players would hold any grudges over the Luis Suarez racism affair or whether he had a problem with Suarez and Evra shaking hands.

    In previous games neither support have done themselves too many favours with Liverpool fans singing about Manchester United players dying on the runway while United supporters have sung about Bill Shankly dying on the carpet.

    ""I haven't given any thought to the handshake, It has never been an issue. We are concentrating on the game," said Sir Alex Ferguson.

    Neither manager would comment upon the case with both men saying their two clubs were just focused on the match ahead.

    "We've just got on with our job. We've kept our dignity throughout and will concentrate on the game," said Ferguson.

    "Well, why didn't they appeal? the Manchester United boss asked, "I think we would be better putting that to bed. We have plenty of other important issues to be concentrating on, like chasing City in the league and preparing for the Europa League games."

    "They (Liverpool) have said plenty haven't they?

    "But we've kept our counsel and I think that's the right thing to do in these situations.

    "We've not thought about it, we're not bothered about it and we're focused on the game."

    "Both clubs have had tragedies in relation to fans' deaths over the years," he said. "In our case, it was our players. I don't anticipate a problem with that."

    The questioning then, quite obviously moved towards Patrice Evra and how the French international handled the FA Cup game amidst constant abuse from Liverpool fans.

    "I think he's handled it well, I think he's coped," he said. "I don't think he enjoyed it at Liverpool, the abuse he got. But it happens.

    "Gary Neville got it for 15 years, Wayne Rooney gets it when he plays against them. That's to be expected. We expected that and so did Patrice and I think he handled it quite well.

    "He's handled being captain for us very well, so he carries on."

    Dalglish took a similar stance to Ferguson on the subject which was unusual given his previous statements on the subject.

    "We will comment on football," said Dalglish as he refused point blank to answer questions on how he thought Luis Suarez would be greeted by the Old Trafford crowd after Liverpool's fans had barracked Evra for the entire 90 minutes during the FA Cup 4th Round game in January.

    "We enjoy going there to play football and that is all we are going to concentrate on, we've covered every other aspect of what has to be covered," he said.

    "In the build-up to the FA Cup tie everyone played their part: both clubs, both sets of fans and the referee (Mark Halsey) was magnificent in the way he handled the game.

    "If it is the same again then everyone will be happy."

February 11: Kenny Dalglish: Suarez Doesn't Like Publicity He Just Goes to Work

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    In a pre-match chat with Julian Pearce of the Liverpool Echo, Kenny Dalglish declared that Luis Suarez did not like publicity and that he would do what he does best and just play football when they travelled to Old Trafford. Not worried about thr mental strength of Suarez, the Liverpool boss said, “If we had any problems whatsoever with any of our players then they wouldn’t be in the squad."

    “They will all be able to look after themselves. They will all be able to handle a game at Old Trafford.

    “The opposition are the people in front of you on the pitch. We’ve got to play the game and try to be better than them on the day.”

    “I would have thought being as successful as Luis was with Uruguay last summer, winning the Copa America, that Monday wasn’t the first time he’s had three cameras in his face,” he said.

    “He’s a top class player. He will understand what top class players are up against and how newsworthy they are.

    “He doesn’t like the glare of publicity, he prefers to go to work, play football and get on with it.

    “A person of his talents isn’t going to get away with it as easily as that but I’m sure he will be able to handle all that as well as he handles stuff on the pitch.”

    “We will manage Luis in the same way as we manage the other players."

    “We’ve got to look after them," he said, "If you had been out injured for six or seven weeks and came straight back in, you would be looking to be broken back in gently.

    “Different people have different needs," he said perhaps referring to Suarez starting the game before adding, we will have a look and see what we’ve got. At least he is fit and available. The past is firmly behind us.”

    “We enjoy going there to play football and that is all we are going to concentrate on."

February 11: Manchester United Fanzine Confiscated by Police Before Match

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    With the eyes of the world looking on this game through a magnifying glass, Police in Manchester, in the build up to the game, confiscated thousands of copies of the Red Issue, a Manchester United fanzine, after it came with a free cut out of a Ku Klux Klan mask on its back cover.

    Manchester Police, fully aware of the potential for crowd trouble with tension rising every minute as the game neared kickoff, took the steps to confiscate the current issue of the fanzine in case it incited an already heated atmosphere between fans.

    The police's match commander and crowd organiser, Chief Superintendant Mark Roberts, said: "Shortly before kick-off we were made aware that a Manchester United supporters' fanzine being sold outside Old Trafford featured a potentially offensive image.

    "Officers are now seizing the fanzines and in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service we will take appropriate action against anyone either found selling this particular fanzine or provocatively displaying the image in public.

    "Officers have also been made aware of a T-shirt on sale outside the ground that is also deemed to be offensive. We are also seizing these items and anyone found wearing one will be required to remove it and hand it to police.

    "At this stage we have arrested one man in relation to the T-shirts on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence and we will be continuing to work with the clubs to minimise the impact of the image, which we consider to be offensive.

    "I have taken this cause of action as both items are potentially offensive and we cannot be in a situation where hundreds or thousands of people were displaying offensive images at a football match. The consequences of taking no action could have resulted in public order incidents inside or outside the ground."

February 11: Luis Suarez Refuses to Shake Patrice Evra's Hand

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    The eyes of the footballing world were on the two teams as they took to the pitch at Old Trafford with everyone expecting a handshake after Kenny Dalglish's words on the matter during the week.

    Instead, as the two teams lined up in front of each other for the pre-match hand shake, we were subjected to Luis Suarez's refusal to shake Patrice Evra's hand.

    To his credit, Patrice Evra, the man who was racially abused by Suarez, held his hand out for Suarez but the Liverpool man simply blanked him and moved past. Evra then tried to grab Suarez's hand to shake it bit the Uruguayan just shook him off.

    Rio Ferdinand then refused to shake Luis Suarez's hand and from there we knew we were in for a tempestuous affair.

February 11: Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool

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    After the pre-match shenanigans by Luis Suarez, refusing to shake Patrice Evra's hand, we knew the game of football was always going to come second.

    In the end the match was a tight affair with Liverpool playing their customary defensive style and allowing Manchester United to dictate the pace of the match.

    There was little to talk about from the first half apart from a moment when Luis Suarez raced onto a through ball only for Rio Ferdinand to make an incredible goal saving tackle from behind that the Uruguayan felt was a foul.

    It was the only incident worth talking about from the first 45.

    Little did we know.

    As the two teams walked down the tunnel at half time Patrice Evra tried to get to Luis Suarez to talk to him the Liverpool players refusal to shake his hand. Martin Skrtel intervened and from there a melee ensued with players from both sides getting involved.

    The fracas eventually calmed down and the two teams went their separate ways.

    The second half kicked off with United literally on fire. Two quick goals from Wayne Rooney put the Red Devils into an almost unassailable lead given Liverpool's defensive tactics.

    Kenny Dalglish made a couple of changes and brought on Andy Carroll and Craig Bellamy as the Reds looked to chase the game.

    With ten minutes to go Luis Suarez found the back of the net after the ball kindly rebounded into his path off Rio Ferdinand and the game was back on.

    It wasn't to be though as United ran out 2-1 winners.

    Perhaps understandably given the circumstances or perhaps it was bad form but Patrice Evra, the United captain, celebrated the win by doing a lap of honour and cheering to the fans. As the left back saw Luis Suarez he ran over and celebrated in front of the Liverpool player.

    Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger from Liverpool immediately ran to confront the United man while the referee, Phil Dowd, deserves huge credit for defusing a situation that could have gotten much worse.

February 11: Alex Ferguson's Post Match Interview with Sky Sports

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    Sir Alex Ferguson was obviously happy with the 2-1 win over Liverpool but he was furious with Luis Suarez's refusal to shake Patrice Evra's hand.

    "I could not believe it, I just could not believe it." Ferguson told Jeff Shreeves of Sky Sports.

    "Because Patrice, and we had a chat this morning and he said I'm going to shake his hand and I've nothing to be ashamed of. I'm going to keep my dignity. And then he refuses?"

    "He's a disgrace to Liverpool Football Club, that certain player should not be allowed to play for Liverpool again.

    "The history that club's got and he does that and in a situation like today could have caused a riot.

    "I was really disappointed in that guy, it was terrible what he did."

    Shreeves then asked did Ferguson understand why Rio Ferdinand refused to shake Luis Suarez's hand.

    Ferguson added: "It created a tension, you've seen the referee didn't know what to do about it.

    "It caught him off guard. It was a terrible start to the game, a terrible atmosphere it created."

    The Sky Sports reporter then asked Ferguson about the need for handshakes before a game.

    "It's never been a problem really up until this situation regarding racism, it's never been a problem," he said.

    "Really, we've got to get our house in order in terms of fighting racism. It's an important issue in this country.

    "Football's come a long way from the days of John Barnes when they were throwing bananas at him to where we are today. We can't go back. We have to go forward in a positive way and ban it altogether."

    Shreeves agreed that tensions were obviously running high and wondered if "it wasn't too clever by Patrice Evra to celebrate right in front of Luis Suarez?"

    "No he shouldn't have done that, he shouldn't have done that," replied Ferguson before the interview ended.

    The interview was played in full on the Saturday Sports Show with Ger Gilroy on Newstalk 106.

February 11: Kenny Dalglish's Post Match Interview with Sky Sports

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    Kenny Dalglish in his after match interview with Geoff Shreeves from Sky Sports said his team deserved credit after giving United a 2-0 lead. He said, "I thought that, obviously, with the two goals coming as close as they did that it made it really difficult for us to get anything from the game.

    "To the boys credit they got one back when Luis knocked one over the line from a free kick and then De Gea has a good save. Overall, I think they were the better side but you'd expect that with them at home.

    "Five minutes, two goals. It gave us a mountain to climb."

    Shreeves then asked, "Did you have a view on the incident just before half time when Luis Suarez was through and Rio Ferdinand got there, Who got the first touch on the ball, we still can't decide?

    The Liverpool boss replied in good humour, "well if ye have 24 cameras here and 34 repeats and you can't decide then there's no chance for me to have a valid opinion

    He then added, "I thought maybe he nudged the first one, but I don't know if Ferdinand played the ball first or not."

    The conversation then moved onto Dalglish's substitutions with the interviewer saying "they had a terrific effect" and asking"what were you trying to change?"

    "We were trying to get back into the game," he replied, "and everybody just needed a wee change and sometimes they work and sometimes it doesn't. We scored a goal but still lost the game.

    "We left ourselves with a mountain to climb and we couldn't get over it."

    With all the questions on the match all but answered, Shreeves moved to the obvious one and asked "As you know the football won't dominate the headlines tomorrow. Firstly, your reaction to Luis Suarez refusing to shake Patrice Evra's hand and did you have an inkling that he was going to do that?

    "I never knew he never shook his hand," Dalglish answered.

    "He refused to take his hand," Shreeves probed.

    Dalglish, beginning to get unhappy with the line of questioning replied, "I'll take your word for it. But I don't know. I wasn't there. I never saw it. That is contrary to what I was told."

    "But now that I have told you that he did do it Kenny, your reaction to that?" said Shreeves still looking for his answer.

    "Well, we'll ask him and we'll take it from there.

    "Do you think you have to take a serious look at his refusal to shake his hand and the way it subsequently set the tone for elements of what happened here today?

    "I think you're very severe," he told Shreeves before adding, "and I think you're bang out of order for blaming Luis Suarez for anything that happened here today.

    "I think predominately both sets of fans behaved really well. They had a bit of banter between each other - no problem. Right, how many bookings was there?" he said turning the question on the interviewer.

    Shreeves coolly answered, "Kenny, I'm not not talking about the fans. I wasn't asking about that, I was..." before Dalglish cut him off repeatedly asking "how many bookings was there?

    "Kenny, I'm not talking about the fans," the interviewer answered.

    "How many was there?" the Liverpool boss demanded.

    "A couple of bookings Kenny," answered Shreeves. "Right okay, you know you know Manchester United Liverpool games,that's not bad."

    "Yes, but Kenny," Shreeves pushed, "you also know about the controversy in the tunnel. The police were called and the stewards were called before and after the game because of the tension during the game and a lot of that was down to the fact that they didn't shake hands"

    "You know something else? asked Dalglish. "You see when we had the game, the FA Cup tie, right, because there was no 24 hour news channel in the build up to the game nothing like this happened."

    "So now, you're blaming the news channel? retorted Shreeves.

    "No, said Dalglish growing more and more unhappy as the interview progressed, "I'm just saying that it was a bit tight getting through there [the tunnel] but I didn't see anything. I was here.

    "Right. So if you want to know what happened in there ask somebody else who was there because I wasn't. Okay."

    The conversation ended with Shreeves thanking Dalglish for the interview.

    The interview was played in full on the Saturday Sports Show with Ger Gilroy on Newstalk 106.

February 11: Paul McGrath Says Suarez Made the Match Harder for Liverpool

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    Speaking on the Saturday Sports Show on Newstalk 106 Paul McGrath, the ex-Ireland international, who had previously questioned the wisdom of Liverpool's players wearing t-shirts in support of Suarez, gave his opinion on the Liverpool striker refusing to shake Pattrice Evra's hand.

    "Well, I'm in shock really, that Luis walked past Patrice Evra who had held his hand out. He had been the bigger man, as they say, and he walked past and I wondered 'had I seen what I had just seen.'

    "This has been running on now for so long and Suarez and are the Liverpool PR people not in reality? Surely somebody sat him down and told him we want no more and we want to end it today and we want the football that we have played all season, and played well, to come out and no more of this tomfoolery."

    "But then Suarez [maybe] does his own thing and he doesn't shake Evra's hand and he just moves on and it just causes friction. The last thing you want to do at Old Trafford is to antagonize any of the players so he has got the whole team up for a really hard game."

    Ger Gilroy suggested that Suarez's reaction was in almost keeping up with Liverpool's stance during the whole affair and asks if there is something wrong at the club when Kenny Dalglish tells Geoff Shreeves that he is bang out of order.

    "Yeah," McGrath answers. "You have to wonder if Kenny is in charge or if there is a PR machine and you wonder is there not someone in there with a bit of sense because this could have been ended almost before it started but they keep perpetuating it and everything that Suarez does now seems to just add to it. He could have just shook his [Evra] hand and got on with the game of football and nobody would be talking about it."

    "You could feel after the first 20 seconds that if Patrice Evra would have clashed with Suarez then someone could have got seriously injured. It could have been handled so much better and if it is Kenny who is handling the t-shirts and now the shaking hands then someone needs to have a word in his ear and tell him that Liverpool is a massive massive football club that is loved all around the world with great supporters but they are, in peoples minds, digging a hole for themselves through one players stupidity and the hole seems to be getting deeper and deeper.

    "I love watching Liverpool when they're playing good football and they're just bringing their name through the mud."

    McGrath then commented on Ferguson's criticism of Luis Suarez and Evra's celebration and how the whole affair might last for another six months.

    "The one thing we didn't want was this. There are so many kids that watch football and you want them to see the sporting side of these players who are role models and all these kids aspire to be these fabulous footballers.

    "But, when you see someone not shaking someones hand, after being brought up with charge against him and admitted it and when the man you spoke about is big enough to hold his hand out to shake, I mean, what kind of sportsman do you think Suarez is? He refused to shake his hand.

    "I just think he is either a very very selfish man or his is a very bad sportsman. I think he could be a great player, I don't think he is there just yet but he really could be a fabulous player but at the moment he is making himself out to be a shocking sportsman.

    "That hits home to kids. Maybe they should do away with the handshake before the game and then after the game you can shake hands with the players you like.

    "I genuinely think that someone from Liverpool should have sat down with Suarez and said that this is the day that this can all end and this is such a simple thing to do [the handshake] and I'm sure that someone in PR would want to do something about the t-shirts because I think it's because of that debacle that we're here now.

    "Someone should have said to Suarez 'Look, today is that the day that this all ends. Shake the mans hand because he is willing to shake yours and he is the one who was wronged and then it's all over.'

    "I think, I know he scored a goal, that if Suarez did that that he would have played a much better game instead of running around chasing shadows. If he had just shaken hands then God knows what the score would have been because everyone would have been concentrating on something else."

    "The PR machine at Liverpool seems to have lost the run of itself. The t-shirts? Okay, you could say that's a one off but a lot of the Liverpool supporters would say that was a mistake but it's out of the way now.

    "But today, on his comeback at Old Trafford, why did he not, when a hand is offered to him, from a man he admitted to wrong, why when that hand is offered to you, why would you refuse to shake that hand and belittle the man in public?

    "As soon as he did that he just made it harder for every Liverpool player on the pitch."

    The interview was played in full on the Saturday Sports Show with Ger Gilroy on Newstalk 106.

February 11: Luis Suarez Says "Everything Is Not as It Seems"

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    After the game Luis Suarez tweeted, somewhat enigmatically, "We lost and we are sad because we have made a big effort... Disappointed because everything is not that it seems..."

    Anything can be read into this, the most brief of statements, but it seems as if Luis Suarez is suggesting that there is more information to be made public at a later date.

February 11: Rio Ferdinand: Why I Didn't Shake Suarez's Hand

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    Rio Ferdinand has explained why he refused to shake Luis Suarez's hand after the Uruguayan had shunned Patrice Evra's conciliatory attempt.

    "I thought it was bad decision-making from their guy [Suarez]," the centre half told MUTV.

    "It's a touchy subject at the minute and things could have been put to bed a little bit easier if the handshake had been done.

    "After seeing what I saw I decided not to shake his hand.

    "He's not got the respect that he needs to have in these situations and acknowledge he's made a mistake and say sorry. I lost all respect for the guy after that.

    "It could have been resolved today, maybe, between the two people who are involved. After this, it's not great. It's disappointing. I expected more from the other guy but it wasn't to be.

    Ferdinand and Suarez clashed just minutes before half time when the England international made an outstanding sliding tackle to dispossess the Liverpool man as he bore down on goal.

    "There are a lot of things going on both on and off the pitch," Ferdinand said before using an unfortunate choice of words, given the situation at the time,  "but the result was the most important thing," he added.

    He ended by praising both sets of supporters who were exemplary on the day, saying, "I thought both sets of fans were good. That was pleasing [and] hopefully we can talk more about the football."

February 11: Gordon Taylor: Respect for the Game Has Been Shredded

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    There was an obvious response from PFA Chief Gordon Taylor who seemed dismayed by Luis Suarez's refusal to shake Patrice Evra's hand. Speaking to Sky Sports News after the game he declared "we need to have some respect for players between each other, respect for the laws of the game and, above all, respect for a social battle against racism whereby football, because it does achieve such publicity, needs to set the right example to the next generation and in fact to society as a whole," he said. "At the moment, it is plainly not doing that."

    "At the moment, it is tainted and you could say it has been shredded.

    "But we have got to rebuild. Nobody ever said the battle against racism would be easy."

    "We were very much hoping there would handshakes in a proper manner and that we could draw a line under it. Everybody knows what has happened," he added.

    "But, if anything, the manner in which it (the handshake) was refused as well, that exacerbated the situation and inflamed the situation.

    "It is particularly disappointing and upsetting, of course. It is something we cannot afford to ignore if we are going to succeed with our battle against racism."

February 11: Alan Hansen: Suarez Has Let Everyone at the Club Down

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    Alan Hansen, the Liverpool club legend, Match of the Day pundit and great friend to Kenny Dalglish, vented his frustrations on the legendary late night football show after reviewing Manchester United's 2-1 victory over Liverpool.

    "Liverpool FC made a statement [during the week] that there would be a handshake," said Hansen.

    "Luis Suarez was party to the statement. He knew about it and obviously agreed with it. To snub Patrice Evra was, in my view, totally unacceptable.

    "The football club and the manager have given him total and unequivocal support through thick and thin.

    "He has let Kenny Dalglish down, the club down and himself down."

    Considering the friendship the Scot shares with his fellow countryman one might almost figure that it was Kenny Dalglish speaking when Hansen was condemning the Liverpool striker.

February 11: John Barnes: We Are Making Mountains out of Molehills

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    Liverpool legend John Barnes was amazed by the "blank" and said so on ESPN:

    "When I saw it live and they didn't shake hands, it just amazed me. I can't imagine after everything that has gone on this week that this was not discussed by Liverpool in terms of are they going to shake hands or not.

    "It's a big shock and was compounded by Evra at the end [celebrating near Suarez] and then Sir Alex Ferguson. It's not a good day from a PR perspective for either club."

    However, Barnes then insisted that the entire situation and row had been blown out of all proportion before hand, saying: "For me, we are making a mountain out of a molehill. There are worse things happening in the world."

February 11: Where to Next for Liverpool and Luis Suarez?

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    Where do Liverpool and Luis Suarez go from here?

    February 11 was meant to be the day that the saga came to an end. Instead, with Luis Suarez's refusal to shake Patrice Evra's hand, we have the very real probability that this situation could rumble on until the clubs meet next.

    From here it is easy to say that the PFA, the Premier League and Fenway Sports Group need to become more heavily involved.

    Gordon Taylor and Peter Scudamore, and especially John Henry, must act quickly and insist that Sir Alex Ferguson, Kenny Dalglish, Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra all meet, in a secret place if they must, and that hands must be shaken and hatchets buried, preferably not in each other.

    It is important that the two managers be part of this meet because they are in many ways the public faces of the clubs they represent. This goes double for Kenny Dalglish who has been very verbal in his backing of Luis Suarez and has questioned the validity of Evra's story in the past.

    Liverpool FC must, by this stage, know that their global brand has been damaged and that the situation needs to be reversed as soon as possible.

    They have given Luis Suarez unequivocal backing throughout this ordeal, much to their own detriment, and it must be said that the club must surely be very angry with their Uruguayan striker.

    In the build up to the game Kenny Dalglish implied that Suarez would shake Evra's hand but then he chose to blank the French star. This immediately set the tone for a tense game with angry exchanges after the whistle both at full and at half time.

    There have been no winners from this entire saga which began last October.

    Liverpool and Suarez have seen their reputations diminish, while the Premier League, the most watched football league in the world, will not want to see this kind of thing represent its own great brand when it tries to negotiate TV deals in the future. While Manchester United will also not want to continue with such bad blood between them and their greatest rivals.

    Rivalry is one thing but both sets of fans have threatened to make this issue an even more divisive one that could eventually lead to violence and crowd trouble.

    When that happens the entire league will have to intervene, neither of the two great clubs wants that.

    Talks are a must. Dignity will not be lost, it will be gained. The world watches...

February 12: Gordon Taylor Calls for Fenway Sports Group to Get Involved

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    Gordon Taylor went on the offensive after Luis Suarez refused to shake Patrice Evra's hand and told BBC Radio 5 live: "If he [Suarez] is going to ignore the decision of a manager then he has to be disciplined - or you get the tail wagging the dog."

    The PFA boss then drew reference to the huge impact this gesture could have and the immediate effect it would have on the children present "I feel sick to the stomach," he said, "that there were youngsters [mascots] who go on the pitch with the players and they would have wondered what was going on."

    "Such a support and denial of any liability has probably encouraged what happened today. I'm extremely concerned that it has reached this level now. It's going to have to be sorted by the FA, the Premier League, the PFA, the League Managers' Association.

    "There's great rivalry which is no bad thing between clubs and cities but this has escalated beyond that."

    Taylor then suggested that Liverpool and Manchester United had rejected all of his approaches so far, he said, "I would have to say that in the very beginning, no they weren't, so as a result this has developed into where it has.

    "It's my job to try to stop such issues escalating.

    "At the very beginning I approached both clubs but it wasn't possible to get that reconciliation or any acceptance of culpability or apology and, from that time on, it's just escalated."

February 12: Clarke Carlisle: We Missed Our Chance to End This

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    Clarke Carlisle, chairman of the PFA, was saddened by Luis Suarez's actions yesterday, telling BBC Five Live "This was a chance to signal to thousands of fans in the ground that the two men had settled things in a sensible manner. This stupid snub has exacerbated things.

    "I'm bitterly disappointed. This was a chance to draw a line in the sand.

    "We expect all our members to cross over the white line and represent themselves, their club and our national game with an element of pride, dignity and respect."

    The Northampton Town player later added, in an interview with Sky Sports,that the PFA would be more than willing to become involved with negotiations if needed.

    "Yes, without doubt," he said.

    "There have been many attempts made by Gordon to get these two gentlemen into the same room in an attempt at mediation.

    "It wasn't to be and the due process was followed to get a verdict in the original incident, but now after yesterday's incidents I'm sure that Gordon will be stepping up his attempts to try and get some sort of closure on this situation."

    "This has shown itself as a personal grievance yesterday between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra, and that is the kind of situation we don't want transferring onto a football pitch."

    "There has been a big debate about whether we should get rid of the handshakes altogether and I am adamant that we should keep them in the game because, personal grievance aside, when you cross that white line you should have an element of professional respect from one professional to another.

    "That is what the handshake is all about, it is about respecting your opponents and respecting the referees and officials when you are in those 90 minutes, and we should be able to leave our personal grievances off the pitch because, when you bring them onto the pitch, that is when problems start.

    "It has been a monumental success I feel in establishing that rapport between opponents and officials and these two incidents have highlighted how we need to further define the line between personal and professional relationships."

    "I was bitterly disappointed. The racism element of this incident made it a national topic and the intense rivalry between Manchester United and Liverpool also amplified the situation, so this was a real chance to defuse that tension and Luis didn't take that up.

    "If anything he poured a bit of fuel on the fire and exacerbated the situation, and it was a shame to see that Kenny Dalglish seemed to have no inkling it had happened.

    "Moving forward, we really need to get Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez together and try and have some kind of mediation so that when you step onto the pitch in front of the eyes of hundreds of millions of watching people, the impressionable young supporters that we set an example to, that you can put differences behind you when it comes to sport and a game of football."

February 12: Prime Minister Wants an End to Racism Row

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    With the London Olympics just around the corner and the eyes of the world media growing more and more interested in British society as the games near, the Prime Minister David Cameron has moved to end the racism spat between Liverpool and Manchester United.

    The English Premier League was a key component of London winning the right to the 2012 games as Lord Coe and the Olympic organizing committee were able to point out its excellent track record in all events both on and off the field.

    At a charity function last month, David Cameron, the Prime Minister spoke on the problem of racism in Britain telling the function that "It has absolutely no place in our society. And where it exists, we will kick it out."

    However, recent events with Luis Suarez and John Terry have drawn coverage from around the world that the Premier League and most importantly, the Olympic committee do not want.

    On the problem of racism in British society, the Cultural Secretary told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: "We have made huge strides, in fact I would say as a society one of the reasons we have made huge strides in changing attitudes to racial discrimination is because of the changes in football."

    When the Olympics begins, thousands of visitors from all over the world of every race and creed will descend upon the English capital and the last thing the British Prime Minister wants at this stage of organising is a race row that may effect, what will effectively be, the largest sporting event in the world this year.

    The Cultural Secretary added, "It was very unsporting behaviour," in reference to Luis Suarez's pre-match actions. He then talked about the run in to the July opening Olympic ceremony saying that attention has already started to shift to England, "this will be the biggest, longest ad for our country in our history,2 he said. This is the time to bang the drum for all that's brilliant about our country."

    After yesterdays events when Luis Suarez refused to shake Patrice Evra's hand and with the race row threatening to run on and run on, The Sunday Telegraph, has learned that "the Prime Minister and Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, will stage a “round table discussion” at Number 10 with leading figures from footballing authorities - as well as “player representatives” - next week."

    The move to bring the aforementioned groups together comes in the light that Britain's reputation will be damaged by yet another race related issue. Last year the Tottenham race riots were caused by the rumored beating of a 16-year-old girl and now Britain's greatest sporting export, the Premier League and its two greatest clubs, threatens to derail the Olympics before it even begins.

    The meetings will take place next week.

February 12: Luis Suarez Apologises for Not Shaking Patrice Evra's Hand

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    In a written statement on Liverpool's official website, Luis Suarez has apologised for not shaking Patrice Evra's hand and has admitted that he let Kenny Dalglish down and the club down.

    It reads, "I have spoken with the Manager since the game at Old Trafford and I realise I got things wrong.

    "I've not only let him down, but also the Club and what it stands for and I'm sorry. I made a mistake and I regret what happened.

    "I should have shaken Patrice Evra's hand before the game and I want to apologise for my actions.

    "I would like to put this whole issue behind me and concentrate on playing football."

February 12: Ian Ayre : Luis Was Wrong and We Are Disappointed

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    Liverpool Managing Director Ian Ayre has released a statement on Liverpoolfc.tv following talks with Luis Suarez and Kenny Dalglish. Ayre made it clear in no uncertain terms that the club as a whole were very disappointed with Suarez's actions particularly the strikers decision to mislead Kenny Dalglish about the handshake with Patrice Evra.

    "We are extremely disappointed Luis Suarez did not shake hands with Patrice Evra before yesterday's game", he said. "The player had told us beforehand that he would, but then chose not to do so.

    "He was wrong to mislead us and wrong not to offer his hand to Patrice Evra. He has not only let himself down, but also Kenny Dalglish, his teammates and the Club. It has been made absolutely clear to Luis Suarez that his behaviour was not acceptable.

    He added, "Luis Suarez has now apologised for his actions which was the right thing to do. However, all of us have a duty to behave in a responsible manner and we hope that he now understands what is expected of anyone representing Liverpool Football Club."

    The statement suggests that Suarez mislead the club before, during and after the game about, firstly, his intentions to shake Patrice Evra's hand but then, secondly, the action of actually doing it. This seems to tie in with Kenny Dalglish's surprise after the game when confronted with the issue by Geoff Shreeves of Sky Sports.

February 12: Kenny Dalglish Apologises for Bad Behaviour in Sky Interview

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    After receiving huge condemnation for the nature of his post-match interview with Geoff Shreeves of Sky Sports, Kenny Dalglish has apologised for his poor actions saying they do not befit a Liverpool manager.

    In a statement on Liverpoolfc.tv the Reds boss echoed Ian Ayre's earlier statement and spoke of his surprise that Luis Suarez did not shake Patrice Evra's hand.

    "Ian Ayre has made the Club's position absolutely clear," he said, "and it is right that Luis Suarez has now apologised for what happened at Old Trafford."

    "To be honest, I was shocked to hear that the player had not shaken hands having been told earlier in the week that he would do. 

    "But as Ian said earlier, all of us have a responsibility to represent this Club in a fit and proper manner and that applies equally to me as Liverpool manager.  

    "When I went on TV after yesterday's game I hadn't seen what had happened, but I did not conduct myself in a way befitting of a Liverpool manager during that interview and I'd like to apologise for that."

    After the game, when Kenny Dalglish spoke to Sky Sports Geoff Shreeves, the Liverpool boss seemed surprised when the Sky interviewer told him Suarez had refused to shake Evra's hand.

    "I never knew he never shook his hand," Dalglish answered.

    "He refused to take his hand," answered Shreeves probing.

    Dalglish, beginning to get unhappy with the line of questioning replied, "I'll take your word for it. But I don't know. I wasn't there. I never saw it. That is contrary to what I was told."

    "But now that I have told you that he did do it Kenny, your reaction to that?" said Shreeves still looking for his answer.

    "Well, we'll ask him and we'll take it from there," he said, before arguing with Shreeves about how Suarez's actions impacted upon the game as a whole.

February 12: Fenway Sports Group: No One Is Bigger Than Liverpool FC

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    According to BBC Radio as reported in the Daily Mail, a senior executive at Fenway Sports Group has given the Liverpool's owners first, and probably last, statement of the Luis Suarez affair.

    Coming under heavy criticism from Gordon Taylor in the PFA and from other interested parties, the American based owners have seemingly pressurized Kenny Dalglish, Ian Ayre and, most importantly, Luis Suarez into action.

    Their brief statement read;

    "No one is more important than the club. Apologies were necessary."

February 12: Manchester United Accept Liverpool's Apology

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    Following Liverpool FC's release of three statements apologizing for Luis Suarez and the ensuing trouble it caused the club and Kenny Dalglish, Manchester United have replied with a brief but important statement where they accept their rivals words and issue their intent to kove on from the divisive issue. It reads;

    Manchester United thanks Liverpool for the apologies issued following Saturday's game.

    Everyone at Old Trafford wants to move on from this. The history of our two great clubs is one of success and rivalry unparalleled in British football.

    That should be the focus in the future of all those who love the clubs.

February 13: Where Do We Go from Here?

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    Where do we go from here?

    Given Liverpool's three statements on Sunday following the game at Old Trafford it would seem that Luis Suarez has deceived his employers and manager about his intentions to and subsequent action to shake the hand of Patrice Evra.

    From there it is a very simple jump to question his actions throughout this entire affair.

    With that in mind his future at Liverpool FC is very much up for questioning and while the "racist comment" story may be coming to an end, another story, regarding his future, may be just beginning.