Report: Luis Suarez used term 'negro'
LONDON -- A report by soccer authorities says Liverpool's Luis Suarez used the word 'negro' seven times in addressing Manchester United's Patrice Evra in the incident that led to Suarez's ban for eight matches.
The 115-page report by an independent commission from the English Football Association was published Saturday. It says that when Evra asked Suarez during the Oct. 15 Premier League match why he had been kicked, the striker replied in Spanish: "Porque tu eres negro."
That translates as "because you are black."
Every professional footballer should be able to play competitive football in the knowledge that references to the color of his skin will not be tolerated.” -- From the English Football Association's report
Evra said he would punch Suarez if he repeated the comment. Suarez replied: "No hablo con los negros" -- "I don't speak to blacks."
Suarez is from Uruguay and contends the use of "negro" in that country and other parts of Latin America is inoffensive in certain situations.
But the panel found that Suarez's argument was "unsustainable," while Evra, a black France defender, was described as a "credible witness."
"The conduct of Mr. Suarez has damaged the image of English football around the world, given that the conduct occurred during the course of one of the most famous games in English football, watched by a huge number of people around the world,'' the report said.
"Every professional footballer should be able to play competitive football in the knowledge that references to the color of his skin will not be tolerated."
The report said that after Evra threatened a second time to hit him, Suarez replied with a phrase that the report said translates as "OK, blackie, blackie, blackie."
The FA called in linguistic experts to assess Suarez's defense. They determined that his language on the pitch "would be considered racially offensive" anywhere.
"He also said that his use of the word 'negro' to address Mr. Evra was conciliatory and friendly. We rejected that evidence," the report said. "To describe his own behavior in that way was unsustainable and simply incredible given that the players were engaged in an acrimonious argument."
The FA also stated, however, that it was not accusing Suarez of being a racist, and Evra had testified that he did not believe Suarez was a racist.
Liverpool must decide by Jan. 13 whether to appeal Suarez's eight-match ban.
"The club can confirm that they received the written reasons from the Regulatory Commission at short notice last night on the evening of the game against Newcastle United," Liverpool said Saturday in a statement. "The player, the club and our legal advisers will now take the necessary amount of time to read, digest and properly consider the contents of the 115-page judgment."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.