Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has been banned for eight matches and fined ￡40,000 (US$62,800) for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during an English 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” toward Evra during the game on Oct. 15, including a reference to the France defender’s color.
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 Web site after a hearing that began on Wednesday last week at an undisclosed location in northwest 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 pounds.”
The three-man commission, which comprised Paul Goulding QC, Brian Jones, the chairman of the Sheffield & Hallam FA, and the former Stoke City player and Sunderland manager Denis Smith, said it would provide written reasons for its decision in due course following which Suarez would have 14 days to appeal.
Evra, 30, made the complaint immediately after United’s 1-1 draw at Liverpool, but investigations into the case before the formal proceedings took two months to prepare.
He reported his concerns to referee Andre Marriner, who included it in his match report.
Evra also made the allegations against 24-year-old Suarez in an interview with Canal Plus, telling the French TV station the Uruguayan had used a racist insult to him “at least 10 times.”
“There are cameras. You can see him [Suarez] say a certain word to me at least 10 times,” Evra said.
Both players spoke to FA officials during the investigation and there have been suggestions that Suarez was unaware language that is acceptable in Uruguay is viewed as racist in Europe.
Suarez told Uruguayan media last month: “There is no evidence I said anything racist to him. I said nothing of the sort.”
“There were two parts of the discussion — one in Spanish, one in English,” he said. “I did not insult him. It was just a way of expressing myself. I called him something his teammates at Manchester call him and even they were surprised by his reaction.”
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish and the club have been fully supportive of Suarez, while United manager Alex Ferguson has stood just as firmly behind Evra.