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Saturday 23 September 2017

Reds urged to let Luis ban lie

Heat on 'Pool to soften stance on Suarez as club's handling of race saga slammed by FA

LIVERPOOL are coming under mounting pressure to abandon plans to appeal against Luis Suarez's eight-match suspension following publication of the highly critical judgment in the Patrice Evra race abuse case.

The 115-page written verdict, which was released by the Independent Regulatory Panel on behalf of the English Football Association on New Year's Eve, presented Suarez's evidence as "unreliable" and "inconsistent" and painted a sorry picture of the manner in which the Merseyside club handled proceedings.

The Professional Footballers' Association and anti-racism groups have supported the judgment and called on Liverpool to preserve their reputation and accept the verdict.



Defence

The commission stated Suarez had referred to Evra as "negro" on seven occasions during the fixture between Liverpool and Manchester United on October 15, dismissing a defence which argued it was used once in the same 'friendly and conciliatory' way he applies it to team-mate Glen Johnson.

While United defender Evra was described as an "impressive" witness, Suarez's key witnesses, Liverpool's director of football Damien Comolli and forward Dirk Kuyt, were forced to alter their testimony because of contradictions in earlier written statements.

Suarez's legal representative, Peter McCormick, admitted some of the club's own evidence was the subject of "bad drafting".

Liverpool's fanciful suggestion that Evra might have made up the abuse charges because he was seeking vengeance for a foul and was also upset at losing the toss before kick-off was dismissed out of hand.

Seventy-two hours after receiving the full adjudication, Liverpool have released only a short statement saying they are still considering a response.

That is not unusual given the timing of the publication in the middle of a Bank Holiday weekend, but still represents a major shift in tone from the belligerence which followed the initial announcement of Suarez's eight-match suspension and £40,000 fine.

The club's American owners, Fenway Sports Group, will be disturbed by the contents of the dossier which presents the club's response in such an amateurish light.

They face serious questions about why Liverpool failed to hold an internal investigation, why they immediately issued such an emotive statement reacting to the guilty verdict, and why they allowed all their players to become involved in the dispute when they controversially wore T-shirts supporting Suarez.

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