Evra abused "seven times in two minutes"

Liverpool's Luis Suarez racially abused Manchester United defender Patrice Evra seven times in a two-minute period in October, it emerged on Saturday.

Luis Suarez; Patrice Evra

The details came to light after the Football Association released the Independent Regulatory Commission's full written reasons on Saturday evening on its website.

Suarez was also criticised in the report as giving "unreliable" and "inconsistent" evidence to the Commission.

Editorial: FA had to throw the book at Suarez

The 115-page report goes into detail of the case and the conversation the two players had during the match at Anfield on October 15.

On December 20, following a lengthy investigation, the FA announced that Suarez would be banned for eight matches and fined £40,000 for racially abusing Evra.

The ban was suspended pending an appeal by the Merseyside club. On Saturday night, Liverpool issued a statement saying they will take "the necessary amount of time to read, digest and properly consider the contents" of the judgment.

The incident was triggered in the 58th minute of the match when Suarez fouled Evra. Five minutes later the defender was marking Suarez at a Liverpool corner, the first time the two players had come together since the foul.

The two players were then involved in a row, and they were spoken to by the referee Andre Marriner.

Evra made a complaint to the referee at the time and after the game, which sparked the FA investigation.

On November 16 Suarez was charged with using abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Evra, including a reference Evra's ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race.

Between December 14 and December 20 the Commission heard evidence about the incident from the match officials, players and staff from the two clubs.

The investigation centred on the use of the word "negro" or "negros" by Suarez.

The Uruguay international said the term would be interpreted as inoffensive in his home country.

As part of their investigation, the FA appointed two language experts - Professor Peter Wade and Dr James Scorer - to prepare a report on the linguistic and cultural interpretations of the words "negro" and "negros" in Rioplatense Spanish.

In the Commission's report, it stated that the words are used offensively, but can also be used "as a friendly form of address to someone seen as somewhat brown-skinned or even just black-haired".

However because the conversation between the two players took place during "heated exchanges" which were "confrontational and argumentative" then the interpretation of Suarez's comments to Evra were offensive, the Commission found.

The FA's case, according to the report, was that Evra asked Suarez why he had kicked him, to which the forward replied: "Because you are black."

When Evra challenged him to repeat the answer and said he would "punch him", Suarez said: "I don't speak to blacks."

According to the report, Evra then told Suarez he was going to hit him, to which the Uruguay international replied in Spanish: "Dale, negro, negro, negro." That translates to "okay, blackie, blackie, blackie".

Evra also said in his evidence to the Commission that Suarez went to touch him and was gesturing at his skin. The report said it looked like Suarez pinched Evra, which the Liverpool player admitted to in his original witness statement to "defuse the situation".

Prof Wade and Dr Scorer also said that the physical gesture of touching Evra's arm would also, in the context of the phrases used, be interpreted as racist, said the report.

The report stated that "in total, Mr Suarez used the word "negro" or "negros" seven times in the penalty area. On each occasion, the words were insulting".

"Whilst we recognised that the exchanges occurred over only a two-minute spell in the second half of the match, there were multiple uses of the insulting words by Mr Suarez," said the report.

Suarez denied the charge and denied he was racist, but on Saturday night, it emerged that the Commission's members were less than impressed with his evidence.

The report stated in its summary: "Mr Evra was a credible witness.

"Mr Suarez's evidence was unreliable in relation to matters of critical importance. It was, in part, inconsistent with the contemporaneous evidence, especially the video footage.

"For example, Mr Suarez said that he pinched Mr Evra's skin in an attempt to defuse the situation.

"He also said that his use of the word 'negro' to address Mr Evra was conciliatory and friendly. We rejected that evidence.

"To describe his own behaviour in that way was unsustainable and simply incredible given that the players were engaged in an acrimonious argument. That this was put forward by Mr Suarez was surprising and seriously undermined the reliability of his evidence on other matters.

"There were also inconsistencies between his accounts given at different times as to what happened."

Liverpool have remained steadfastly behind their player, his team-mates controversially wearing T-shirts in support of the forward with Suarez's face on them prior to the recent draw at Wigan.

Describing the reason for the severity of the sentence, the Commission said: "If professional footballers use racially insulting language on a football pitch, this is likely to have a corrosive effect on young football fans, some of whom are the professional footballers of the future.

"It also has a potentially damaging effect on the wider football community and society generally. Every professional footballer should be able to play competitive football in the knowledge that references to the colour of his skin will not be tolerated. The same goes for all levels of football.

"Those who are victims of misconduct of this nature should know that, if they complain and their complaint is upheld, the FA will impose an appropriate penalty which reflects the gravity of this type of misconduct."

The Commission concluded: "The charge against Mr Suarez was that he used insulting words which included a reference to Mr Evra's colour. We have found that charge proved on the evidence and arguments put before us. The FA made clear that it did not contend that Mr Suarez acted as he did because he is a racist. Mr Evra said in his evidence that he did not think Mr Suarez is a racist.

"Mr Suarez said in evidence that he will not use the word "negro" on a football pitch in England in the future, and we believe that is his genuine and firm intention."

Liverpool have been given until January 13 to respond, meaning Suarez will be free to play in their next three games, including their Carling Cup semi-final, first-leg trip to Manchester City on January 11.



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