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LFC statement on Suarez ban.

IT is our strongly held conviction that the Football Association and the panel it selected constructed a highly subjective case against Luis Suarez based on an accusation that was ultimately unsubstantiated.

The FA and the panel chose to consistently and methodically accept and embrace arguments leading to a set of conclusions that found Mr Suarez to "probably" be guilty while in the same manner deciding to completely dismiss the testimony that countered their overall suppositions.

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.

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.

In its determination to prove its conclusions to the public through a clearly subjective 115-page document, the FA panel has damaged the reputation of one of the Premier League's best players, deciding he should be punished and banned for perhaps a quarter of a season. This case has also provided a template in which a club's rival can bring about a significant ban for a top player without anything beyond an accusation.

Nevertheless, there are ultimately larger issues than whether or not Luis Suarez has been treated fairly by the FA.

There are important points we want to make that overshadow what has occurred during the past two months.

The issue of race in sports, as in other industries, has a very poor history. 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.

English football has led the world in welcoming all nationalities and creeds into its Premier League and its leagues below, and Liverpool itself has been a leader in taking a progressive stance on issues of race and inclusion. The Luis Suarez case has to end so that the Premier League, the Football Association and the club can continue the progress that has been made and not risk a perception, at least by some, that would diminish our commitment on these issues. Liverpool have supported Luis Suarez because we fundamentally do not believe that Luis on that day - or frankly any other - did or would engage in a racist act. Notably, his actions on and off the pitch with his team-mates and in the community have demonstrated his belief that all athletes can play together and that the colour of a person's skin is irrelevant.

Continuing a fight for justice in this particular case beyond today would only obscure the fact that the club wholeheartedly supports the efforts of the FA, the Football League and the Premier League to put an end to any form of racism in English football.

It is time to put the Luis Suarez matter to rest and for all of us to work together to stamp out racism inside and outside the sport.

It is for this reason that we will not appeal the eight-game suspension of Luis Suarez.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 4, 2012
Words:551
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