Liverpool decided Tuesday it will not appeal against Luis Suarez’s eight-match ban for repeatedly racially abusing an opponent during a match, even thought the striker again defended his actions and the club renewed its criticism of the English Football Association’s disciplinary panel.
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Liverpool’s decision to accept the punishment means the ban started with immediate effect, ruling the striker out of Tuesday’s Premier League match at Manchester City and taking him out of action until February.
”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 his Twitter account.
The Uruguay international will also have to pay a 40,000 pound ($62,000)-fine for hurling racial insults at Manchester United defender Patrice Evra in October during a 1-1 draw at Anfield.
”The (Football Association) 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.
The 18-time English champions rebuked the independent FA panel, which was headed by a lawyer, for branding Suarez’s evidence unreliable.
”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 its 115-page report that was released on 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.”
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.