FA take tough stance in Luis Suarez racism case


The Football Association have been praised for taking a strong stance and handing Liverpool striker Luis Suarez a multi-game ban after being found guilty of misconduct by "using insulting words towards" Patrice Evra of Manchester United.

Suarez, who has been banned for eight matches and fined £40,000, was accused of racially abusing Evra at least 10 times during a game at Anfield on October 15.

Liverpool Football Club, who backed their player from the first moment he was accused, continued their defence at an FA independent regulatory commission, arguing that the word "negrito" does not have racist connotations in Uruguay. Evra said it was unacceptable and that Suarez was being offensive as the pair clashed repeatedly in the second half at Anfield.

But the three-man panel at the commission decided there was compelling evidence to hand a stiff punishment to Suarez, who is expected to appeal. The FA rightly took their time to investigate the matter at a time when cases of racist abuse in football and society are becoming quite regular.

There were frustrations, not least from Lord Herman Ouseley, chair of Kick It Out, who indicated he would step down from the FA council if such matters weren't dealt with properly.

But yesterday, Lord Ouseley praised the FA for showing leadership and demonstrating that matter of discrimination would and should not be taken lightly.

Lord Ouseley 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."

He added,

“Kick It Out will continue to work with clubs and players, at professional and grass roots level, offering education on what is deemed offensive and unacceptable behaviour."

Piara Powar, Executive Director of the FARE network said,

“This breaks the myth that racial abuse amongst players does not take place and cannot be sanctioned. If we are serious about tackling social exclusion we must tackle the uncomfortable truth that the icons of the game can carry prejudices like everyone else. For years unacceptable abuse amongst players has gone unpunished, the victims, perpetrators and fans left with a sense of unfinished business. The FA have initiated a process that looks thorough and credible.”

Now that the Suarez matter has been death with, all eyes turn to the outcome of the case against Chelsea and England captain John Terry, who was accused of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.

The Crown Prosecution Service is set to make an announcement on the case later this afternoon.

The news follows the CPS's recent confirmation that it had received additional evidence, thought to be new video footage of the incident, which allegedly occurred during Chelsea's defeat at Queens Park Rangers on 23 October.