Suarez apology ‘lamentable’ says anti-racism chief

2012-01-05 11:11

A leading anti-racism campaigner dismissed Luis Suarez’s apology as “lamentable” following the Liverpool striker’s eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.

Liverpool and Suarez have faced a storm of criticism for their defiant stance since an independent FA disciplinary panel found the Uruguayan international guilty of abusing Evra.

Liverpool confirmed earlier this week that they would not challenge the ban while Suarez said he would accept the punishment with “the resignation of someone who hasn’t done anything wrong”.

In a statement issued late yesterday, Suarez apologised for causing offence and insisted he had only used the word “negro” against Evra once and not several times as it had been alleged.

“I admitted to the commission that I said a word in Spanish once and only once. I told the panel members that I will not use it again on a football pitch in England,” Suarez said.

“I never, ever used this word in a derogatory way and if it offends anyone then I want to apologise for that.”

However Suarez’s comments were given short shrift by Herman Ouseley, the head of the FA-backed Kick It Out campaign and the former chief of Britain’s Commission for Racial Equality.

“Suarez’s attempt at a belated apology is nothing short of lamentable,” Ouseley wrote in The Guardian.

“I cannot believe that a club of Liverpool’s stature, and with how it has previously led on matters of social injustice and inequality, can allow its integrity and credibility to be debased by such crass and ill-considered responses.

“Liverpool FC need to take a hard look at themselves and how they have responded to the complaint and the investigations into the allegations of abuse in the Patrice Evra/Luis Suarez case.”

Meanwhile Professional Footballers Association chief Gordon Taylor told Sky Sports News that the Suarez ban sent out a strong message that authorities had a zero tolerance attitude towards racism.

“It’s a lesson to all of us...that all players coming into our game from different countries understand and accept what we are about – equality and diversity,” Taylor said.

“We have got probably the most multi-cultural game in the world so it’s important to set the right example.

“We don’t want him (Evra) feeling a victim. We want our black players to feel comfortable that racism can be dealt with in football terms, as well as the law of the land.

“Some issues are bigger than a player, the club or the game and racism is one of those. We have to learn from it and there should be no misunderstanding or ambiguity in the future.”

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