LONDON — Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has been banned for eight matches and fined £40 000 (approximately R510 000) for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during a Premier League match at Anfield in October, the Football Association (FA) said on Tuesday.
Uruguay international Suarez was found guilty of misconduct after using “insulting words” towards Evra during the game on October 15, including a reference to the France defender’s colour.
The ban is suspended pending the outcome of any appeal lodged by Suarez after an FA Independent Regulatory Commission “found a charge of misconduct against Luis Suarez proven”.
The FA announced the decision against Suarez, who has repeatedly denied the allegations, on its website (www.thefa.com) after a hearing that began on December 14 at an undisclosed location in north-west England.
The commission said: “Mr Suarez used insulting words towards Mr Evra during the match contrary to FA Rule E3(1). The insulting words used by Mr Suarez included a reference to Mr Evra’s colour within the meaning of Rule E3(2).
“Mr Suarez shall be warned as to his future conduct, be suspended for eight matches covering all first team competitive matches and fined the sum of £40 000.” Suarez said on Twitter:
“Today (Tuesday) is a very difficult and painful day for me and my family. Thanks for all the support.” Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish tweeted: “Very disappointed with today’s (Tuesday) verdict. This is the time when Luis Suarez needs our full support. Let’s not let him walk alone.”
The three-man FA commission said it will provide written reasons for its decision in due course following which Suarez will have 14 days to appeal.
Liverpool said in a statement the club was surprised and disappointed with the decision adding: “We find it extraordinary that Luis can be found guilty on the word of Patrice Evra alone.
“No-one else on the field of play — including Evra’s own Manchester United teammates and all the match officials — heard the alleged conversation between the two players in a crowded Kop goalmouth while a corner-kick was about to be taken.
“Nothing we have heard in the course of the hearing has changed our view that Luis Suarez is innocent of the charges brought against him and we will provide Luis with whatever support he now needs to clear his name.”