Liverpool won't fight Luis Suarez ban
LONDON -- Liverpool will not appeal Luis Suarez's eight-match suspension, assessed by a Football Association panel that concluded the forward repeatedly racially abused an opponent during a match.
The ban began with Tuesday night's Premier League match at Manchester City. The Uruguayan forward also was fined $62,000 for making racial insults to Manchester United defender Patrice Evra in October during a 1-1 draw at Anfield.
"I will comply with the sanction, but with the acquiescence of someone who has not done anything and who feels extremely upset about what has transpired," Suarez said on his Twitter account.
Liverpool, owned by the parent company of the Boston Red Sox, criticized the independent FA panel for branding Suarez's evidence unreliable. The panel of Paul Goulding, Brian Jones and Denis Smith wrote a 115-page decision outlining its conclusions.
"The panel has damaged the reputation of one the Premier League's best players, deciding he should be punished and banned for perhaps a quarter of a season," Liverpool said in a statement.
"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," Liverpool said. "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."
Suarez's claim that the racial slur used in the match was lost in translation was rejected by the FA in the panel's report, released Saturday.
In justifying the severity of the sentence, the commission said that there is likely to be a "corrosive effect on young football fans" if players are seen racially abusing opponents.
While insisting that Suarez did not "engage in a racist act," Liverpool said that it needs to move on from the episode.
"Continuing a fight for justice in this particular case beyond today would only obscure the fact that the club wholeheartedly supports the efforts ... to put an end to any form of racism in English football," Liverpool said. "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."
The team said "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."
Liverpool also suggested United launched the disciplinary action because it is a fierce rival of the Premier League champions.
"This case has ... provided a template in which a club's rival can bring about a significant ban for a top player without anything beyond an accusation," Liverpool said.
Liverpool insists that it has "been a leader in taking a progressive stance on issues of race and inclusion" as part of an inclusive English game.
"In far too many countries, the issues of racism and discrimination have been covered over or ignored," Liverpool said.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press