Sunday 19 November 2017

Dalglish lashes FA over Suarez hearing as Reds begrudgingly accept ban

Liverpool last night claimed the English Football Association was guilty of systematic bias and suggested sections of evidence had been deliberately withheld, as they begrudgingly accepted Luis Suarez's eight-match ban for the abuse of Manchester United's Patrice Evra.

Though a regulatory commission has published a 115-page report of unprecedented detail in finding that Suarez used the word "negro" or "negros" seven times in the space of two minutes when Liverpool played Manchester United on 15 October, Dalglish said the club would not apologise and suggested that sections of evidence had been omitted from the commission's written reasons, published on New Year's Eve.

"We know what has gone on. We know what is not in the report and that's important for us," Dalglish said. "I think it is very dangerous and unfortunate that you don't actually know the whole content of what went on at the hearing. I'm not prepared, and I can't say it, but I am just saying it is really unfortunate you never got to hear it."

Pressed on precisely what had been omitted, Dalglish declined to say. When it was suggested that if Liverpool were unhappy they should appeal the commission's verdict, he insisted: "There's a lot of things we'd like to say and a lot we could say, but we would only get ourselves in trouble.


"We are being evasive because we don't like getting ourselves in trouble."

Dalglish has been on the receiving end of the greatest criticism for the Suarez T-shirts he and his players wore before their game at Wigan on 21 December, a gesture he said last night had been "a fabulous statement to make, visually, of their support of a guy who is endeared in the dressing room, one of their closest friends in the dressing room."

The FA, which convened the commission, did not respond publicly to a Liverpool statement, sanctioned by the club's American owners, claiming that the commission "chose to consistently and methodically accept and embrace arguments leading to a set of conclusions that found Mr Suarez to 'probably' be guilty."

But Liverpool, whose miserable start to the new year was compounded by a 3-0 defeat at Manchester City, have taken relations between the club and the governing body lower than ever. The FA would have been prepared to establish another three-man commission had Liverpool wanted to appeal.

Liverpool said they were only accepting the ban now to prevent their work with the football authorities in fighting racism from being obscured and when it was put to Dalglish that some kind of apology might be in order for the use of the word "negro" he replied: "I would have thought that if you pronounced the word properly, you maybe understand it better."


The manager appeared to hint that Suarez had been punished because the FA wanted to make a point about racism. "Maybe wrong place, wrong time. It could have been anybody. I can't answer for the FA," he said.

Suarez will return for the club's home match with Tottenham on 6 February. If Liverpool are eliminated from the FA Cup at the third-round stage, against Oldham Athletic on Friday, he will be back for the club's trip to Old Trafford on 13 February.

The Uruguayan, who said ahead of the commission inquiry that whoever was found to be in the wrong should apologise, also refused to back down. "In my country, 'negro' is a word we use commonly," he said.

"A word which doesn't show any lack of respect and is even less so a form of racist abuse."

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