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Support still swells for Suarez

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Tim Vickery | 11:38 UK time, Monday, 30 April 2012

Gus Poyet was recently remembering the advice he received when he joined Chelsea 15 years ago.

"I had a team-mate at Zaragoza who had spent four or five years in England and he told me all the things that I shouldn't do," he said to the Uruguayan press.

"'Don't dive in the area, trying to get a penalty, don't score a goal with your hand, don't try to cheat the ref, don't try to pressure him to give a yellow card to an opponent'. At that moment I wondered where I was going. I thought I was on my way to another planet! But I adapted."

Football might be a universal language, but we speak it with different accents - one of the reasons that bringing in a player from a different culture always contains elements of a gamble. Not only is he a human being who has to adapt to life in a new country, he may also have to change some aspects of his behaviour on the field - or face the consequences.

Luis Suarez

Suarez's talent has helped him through a baptism of fire in the Premier League. Photo: Getty

All of this has since been discovered by one of Poyet's compatriots. When Luis Suarez joined Liverpool I imagined that his attacking thrust and the range of his talent would make him a firm favourite with the club's fans.

I also suspected that his competitive nature and temperamental streak would mark him out as the type of player whom opposing supporters love to hate. I did not bargain on an international incident.

Suarez, of course, served an eight- game suspension for racially abusing Patrice Evra of Manchester United, and attempted to defend himself by pointing out that such behaviour was not considered unacceptable in Uruguayan football.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the case, it does not seem to have harmed the player's prestige at home.

Soon after February's infamous 'non-handshake' at Old Trafford, Nacional supporters turned their team's Copa Libertadores tie at home to Libertad of Paraguay into a pro-Luis Suarez rally. There were banners aplenty in praise of their old hero.

Nacional, of course, are the club where Suarez came through the youth ranks and made his name. It is only to be expected, then, that a bond will continue to exist between the player and the fans.

But the backing for Suarez has gone well beyond his old haunts. Uruguayan politicians queued up to express their indignation at his punishment. Even President Jose Mujica got in the act, the veteran left winger declaring his full support for Suarez and commenting that some people did not seem to realise that the young man at the centre of the scandal was a poor kid who had not studied to be a diplomat.

Back home, the hero status of Suarez is safe. To many of them the Evra incident is of little importance when weighed against the service the player has already given in the sky blue shirt of his nation. "Other countries have their history," goes the expression "while Uruguay has its football."

In South Africa two years ago Uruguay reached their first World Cup semi-final since 1970 - and only their second since going down in extra-time to the great Hungary side of 1954.

In Uruguay successive generations had only been able to hear tales of their country's footballing prowess from their grandparents - until South Africa when they could climb on the roller-coaster and enjoy it for themselves.

Since then Suarez has gone from strength to strength. In terms of national team football, no-one on earth was better than him in 2011.

He made an inspired start to the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, scoring five times in three games. And before that he was the outstanding player last July as Uruguay won the Copa America for a record 15th time, putting them ahead of hosts Argentina in the all-time winners list.

As they celebrated on the field, the Uruguayan players sang about being champions again, just as they were the first time - a reference to the triumph of their predecessors in the inaugural Copa, held in 1916.

It is this respect for footballing tradition that gives Saturday's FA Cup Final a certain allure in Uruguay. The idea of a domestic cup competition is not a strong one in South America; Brazil has had such a trophy for the last 20 years, Colombia started recently and Argentina's is in its debut campaign.

But well entrenched is the practice of a big game to decide the destiny of a title - many league championships end this way. Throw in the historical importance of the competition and the presence on the Wembley pitch of Suarez, fresh from a hat-trick against Norwich, and it is clear the FA Cup final will be closely followed in Uruguay.

Part of this is down to Poyet, now the Brighton manager. His time at Chelsea did much to raise awareness of English football in Uruguay and also important were his exploits on the road to the 2000 FA Cup win.

At a time when the Premier League was starting to build a global audience, Poyet made it clear to his compatriots that the English game also contained a historic cup competition with a tradition going all the way back to 1872.

And so well has Poyet adapted that 12 years later he is still giving the English game the benefit of his international experience. It is hard to imagine Suarez still being in the country 12 years from now - there has even been speculation that he could be on his way out in the near future.

But however long he stays, his time in England will certainly be remembered - for reasons both positive and negative. He will hope that his contribution to the 131st FA Cup final will be recalled with pride by fans on both sides of the Atlantic.

Send your questions on South American football to vickerycolumn@hotmail.com and I'll pick out a couple for next week.

From last week's postbag:
In your opinion, where does Neymar stand in relation to the top young players in European football, the likes of Gotze, Hazard, Wilshere, Thiago, etc? Is he on a different level altogether or do we have to wait to see him in Europe before a true judgement can be made? Jack Lewis
I don't watch enough European football to make an informed comparison, but I can tell you that Neymar really is an extraordinary talent. His running with the ball at pace, his capacity to see situations, his ability to improvise at speed and in reduced spaces, his finishing - all of these are sheer class.

It is true that Brazilian football allows him to operate in something of a comfort zone - the defensive lines operate deep, so there is plenty of space on the field in which he can pick up possession, and he picks up free-kicks that he would not always get in Europe.

My view is that the time has now come for him to make the move - an opinion Ronaldo gave to Gary Lineker last week. If he follows Ronaldo's advice you'll be able to make your own comparison before long!

What are your thoughts of the young Ecuadorians, Fidel "The Ecuadorian Neymar" Martinez (Deportivo Quito) and Fernando Gaibor (Emelec)? They seem to be playing well ahead of their age. Pacheg10
A poor man's Neymar is still something to be! Martinez has done wonderfully well so far in the Copa Libertadores, wide left in that Neymar position, offering a creative threat with both feet.

I first saw him in the Ecuador side that won the 2007 Pan-American gold medal. After Jefferson Montero I thought he was one of the most interesting players. Cruzeiro in Brazil picked him up but the early move didn't work out.

He's made a big impression since moving back to Ecuador last year, though, and is certainly one to watch, as is Gaibor. I thought he was the best all-round midfielder in last year's South American Under-20 Championships and he's kept getting better since.


Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Luis Suarez - An absolutely fantastic player and wonderful person who has unfortunately sufered this year because of English hypocrisy and FA politics.

    Would love nothing more than to see him lift the FA Cup.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    Wonderful person? Wasnt he banned for about 10 games in Holland for biting someone?

  • Comment number 4.

    I hope this odious individual does not soil our Cup Final by winking at Terry again.
    He was widely despised before the Evra incident do not forget!

  • Comment number 5.

    LS is a legend. The EPL would be that much duller without him. Can't put down a player of his verve and excitement factor, despite his antics. I really wish Newcastle could've signed him, he'd fit right in.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    I had the chance to discuss the term "negrito" with my Ecuadorean students this week. They seemed to be quite confused on why it was considered offensive as it is term of endearment in most of South America. As a Liverpool fan at first I thought the treatment of Suarez was harsh but on reflection he should have known better or should have been better advised (it must be the same in Holland where he played before England).

    I am currently researching a bit about Ecuador's greatest player, Alberto Spencer and some of the racism he and others received was disgraceful. Unfortunately, i think it still exists in South America, to a lesser degree than 40-50 years ago.

    http://footballintheclouds.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 8.

    Nice article but the BBC blogs look horrendously out of date. Not so much a problem for this article but we need some way of rating the comments and replying to them in order to get real debate going.

  • Comment number 9.

    Antes - Suarez the torchbearer for a third world war? Nice sense of perspective, I don't think!
    A Latino exhanging in Spanish to a French man has its own line of understanding, one different to your, excuse the expression, black and white world view. Language is laden with cultural distinctions, so it's no surprise that Suarez' supposed 'offence' gets little acknowledgement in Latin America.
    Suarez is pure box-office, when he has the ball you can't take your eyes off him - he's the theatre of the unexpected, and any game of football is the better for him.

  • Comment number 10.

    In regards to the racism issue - in my opinion it's a matter of different nationalities seeing different terms as offensive. For example, I'm from Australia - and from what I have heard in England there is a 4 letter word beginning with the letter P describing someone from Pakistan that is considered incredibly racist - however over here there is no such stigma attached and is more used as a term of endearment. It seems the same thing has occured with Suarez - yes maybe he should have been informed otherwise but also remember football is meant to be the "world game" - not just "the english game so you must follow all our customs" game.

  • Comment number 11.

    I really enjoy your blogs, Tim, as well as your contributions to Dotun's world football show. Your comments are always well-researched & balanced with a good dose of quick wit.

    However, in writing for an English audience I find you trying to appeal to the LCD (lowest common denominator) with phrases such as "attempted to defend himself by pointing out that such behaviour was not considered unacceptable in Uruguayan football" You should follow that up and demonstrate to us how this "attempt" was not justified and that "such behaviour", as you put it, is NOT acceptable in Uruguay or other Spanish-speaking countries, and that the likes of Valencia and Hernandez at Man Utd. have never been heard using such terms when speaking Spanish themselves. If that is indeed the case. Could you do this?

    Also, please don't leave the pregnant "speculation that he could be on his way out" just hanging there.

    As for the Cup Final, I expect even 2011's most prodigious national team player will not save Liverpool from a trouncing at Wembley.

  • Comment number 12.

    Great piece as always Tim - I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on the need for South American clubs to educate their young players better not just about cultural sensitivities but many areas of football - dealing with media, understanding contracts with clubs/agents even something simple like the laws of the game.

    I've noticed that Paraguay have held sessions with their U13s and U15s sides recently about the laws of the game (run by Chiqui Arce himself) but this seems the exception rather than the rule.

  • Comment number 13.

    11- Neymar had a banana thrown at him in Bolivia last week - in Brazil at the weekend a player received racist abuse - on and on it goes.

    At the time of the Suarez scandal Gus Poyet said the same - in Uruguay this was normal, like baiting someone for being fat, or having ginger hair. It took me back to the 80s and arguments I used to have with friends when I'd try to explain that the race thing was a completely different situation.

    One thing about Uruguay, though, is that its race record is pretty good - they were pioneers in selecting black players, for example - and a consquence of this is that the issue doesn't have the same explosive connotations as it does in the UK.

    At the time someone from Uruguay sent me a long e-mail. Some if read as follows - "English speakers scoff at the very idea that calling someone 'negro' could be equiavlent to calling someone 'rubio' (blonde) and in England and the US they would be right.
    "The word 'negro' has been polluted over the years, used to offend and wound so often that it in itself has become offensive.
    "What I find offensive is the assumption by these English speakers that we in other parts of the world have necessarily pooluted the word in the same way. We haven't, it remains purely descriptive, and the refusal to concede that we could have done so stinks of arrogance."

    I don't agree 100%, but I think it's a perspective to bear in mind.

    For what it's worth, my view on the whole affair is as follows. Referring to the race of another player in the way that Suarez did is to my mind wrong. Trying to prevent this kind of thing is a noble quest. Punishment was applicable - the aim of the punishment being to educate and take steps towards winning the debate.

    The problem as I see it is that the severity of the punishment leaves a doubt as to its motive. Was this a case of playing to the gallery?

    The panel decided that Suarez was not, as he claimed, using the word 'negro' in a friendly way, and he was not, as he claimed, trying to defuse the situation. I would agree with this conclusion.

    but it is then a mighty leap to say that the evidence of Suarez was not credible, but that of Patrice Evra was. Early in the verbal dispute Evra swore in Spanish, a reference to someone's sister. he claimed this was not direct communication with Suarez, merely an expression. Are we really to believe that Evra goes around swearing in Spanish, at best his third language? It is clearly prepostorous, yet the panel let it pass. Had they applied the same criteria as they did with Suarez - ie not believing a claim - then they could not have gone down the road of an 8 game suspension.

    The positive consequence of the process is that Suarez said - in his evidence and also in his public apology (though unfortunately it was the second one and not the first) that he realised that in a UK context referring to race in this way was not acceptable and that there will be no repeat. The aim of educating the perpetrator was achieved.

    But the pro-Suarez rallies in Amsterdam and Montevideo are not positive consequences, nor is the support given to Suarez from Uruguayan politicians across the spectrum. They are in part reactions to a process which did not appear to have been carried out in the most even handed way.

    With more sensetive handling I believe the global anti-racist campaign could have moved forward in a better way, one that stimulated debate on what is and what is not acceptable. I see it as a missed opportunity.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    14.
    At 06:36 2nd May 2012, WordsofWisdom wrote:

    I'll be fully behind Chelsea on Saturday, not least beacuse of the presence of the odious little man in the opposition ranks.

    -------------------------

    And the history of Britain reads like a litany of Christian virtue no doubt. No racism, mass murder, torture, burnings, concentration camps in South Africa. Let's of course not forget the odious central defender at Chelsea who is currently facing criminal charges relating to racism.

  • Comment number 16.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 17.

    @15 Inoccent until proven guilty I think applies here. None of your lynchings without a trial, SA style.

    PS I have nothing to do with Britain either in terms of nationality or geographical location.

  • Comment number 18.

    Suarez has successfully put the incident behind him, despite the poor way he was treated.

  • Comment number 19.

    17.
    At 07:03 2nd May 2012, WordsofWisdom wrote:

    @15 Inoccent until proven guilty I think applies here. None of your lynchings without a trial, SA style.

    PS I have nothing to do with Britain either in terms of nationality or geographical location.

    ------------------------------

    I think you will find no country without something nasty lurking in its past. Proven guilty by who. The FA? They do not fly high in any matter in my estimation. The criminal charges against a certain Chelsea player are far more serious.

  • Comment number 20.

    Suarez shows disrespect for the game and fair play by constantly diving, he has won more penalties than any other player in the league (statistical fact) and that is no coincidence.

    He also shows complete disrespect for his fellow professionals, he has bitten one and racially abused another. I do not by this cultural excuse for Suarez racially abusing Evra, because he clearly said it in a derogatory manner, Like Evra, I don't believe he is a racist, but it doesn't change the fact what he did was wrong, and he was too stubborn to apologise, and it dragged on months and months.

    Luis is Suarez is a fantastic player, he makes things happen, he does waste a lot of chances, although that's a problem throughout the Liverpool player. Fact is, I have nothing other than contempt for any player who constantly cheats and especially one as ill-behaved as Suarez and I think it's been typical of Liverpool fans and the club to defend the 'indefensible' this season.

  • Comment number 21.

    14.
    At 06:36 2nd May 2012, WordsofWisdom wrote:

    As yes, the football supporting South Americans! You need to look at the history, although you really only need to scratch the surface.

    Prominant dictators, torture, mass disappearances, terrible record on human rights. A show boating general starts a war over a near deserted rock................
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Like the all innocent Great Britain (goes for any other colonial superpower for that matter) didn't pillage the colonies and dehumanize their inhabitants right?

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    @20 "Suarez shows disrespect for the game and fair play by constantly diving, he has won more penalties than any other player in the league (statistical fact) and that is no coincidence. "

    That could just be because he's such a good player he gets fouled more than any other so gets awarded penalties. Did you not see G-Nev's insightful look at diving in football? Everyone does it.

    His heroics in the last world cup, sacrificing himself for the team wins my respect. He always shows commitment to his team as well.

  • Comment number 24.

    Wordsofwisdom

    I'll be fully behind Chelsea on Saturday, not least beacuse of the presence of the odious little man in the opposition ranks
    ...............

    Is your issue South Americans?

    John terry! Now justifify you're your last comment?

  • Comment number 25.

    Suarez should be praised for his exemplary behaviour on and off the pitch since the incidents with Evra.

    He get's booed and hassled by fans and players alike wherever he goes but doesn't respond.

    A true superstar.

  • Comment number 26.

    I'm gonna go to Dubai and grope my wife in public whilst highly intoxicated and insulting anyone who looks at me funny.

    Its fine because its perfectly acceptable behavior on a night out in my home country.

  • Comment number 27.

    "Suarez should be praised for his exemplary behaviour on and off the pitch since the incidents with Evra.

    He get's booed and hassled by fans and players alike wherever he goes but doesn't respond."


    Just like those brilliant supporters, the best in the world, who boo a player who was racially abused.

  • Comment number 28.

    @27

    Evra was rightly booed for his part in the incident.

    He got away with verbally abusing Suarez with references to his sister's private parts.

    Nice eh? But acceptable to the FA because he didn't refer to the colour of her skin.

  • Comment number 29.

    Suarez totally lost my respect with the World Cup incident when he blocked a shot on the line with his hand and then instead of going down the tunnel after being sent off he stood on the sideline cheering when Ghana missed the penalty. Utter disgrace.

  • Comment number 30.

    What the Suarez case did was once again highlight the blatant Xenophobia that goes on in English football.

    When Rooney threatens to leave (to get more money) It's spun as great management by Ferguson. Tevez does the same and he's a mercenary.

    Suarez (no video evidence, just one mans word against another) gets an 8 game ban. John (I'm not that kind of player) Terry plays on with his next game as England captain.

    'Foreigners' apparently brought diving into the English game. When an English player dives he is 'winning' a penalty.

    The FA judgement was as Tim rightly points out a case of showboating. The judgement was flawed and was clearly a case of politics been played. Why did this matter not go to a criminal court? Because there was not one witness of what was said between the two players.

    Funny how the British public widely derides the FA for just about everything it does, yet with the Suarez case they trust the FA 100%. Yet another example of xenophobia.

    Interesting to see if the English FA and Media ever mention the apartheid views of 'sir' Stanley Rous, the next time they are widely lambasting Sepp Blatter, who for all his faults has helped spread football across the world.

    Hypocrites.

  • Comment number 31.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 32.

    Suarez was found guilty of rascist abuse because of the way he used the word. He knew it was upsetting Evra so he continued to use it time and time again because it was causing offense.

    @7 It is not a term of endearment in most of South America. It isn't even a term of endearment in all of Suarez's hope country.

    Only knuckle draggers would call him a wonderful person

  • Comment number 33.

    "Suarez (no video evidence, just one mans word against another) gets an 8 game ban. John (I'm not that kind of player) Terry plays on with his next game as England captain."

    I think you'll find that Terry has been charged by the police, Suarez was not.

  • Comment number 34.

    Suarez has shown more than once that he is not a nice person, he may be nice to people off the pitch i.e directors and FA bosses etc but he's def got a mean streak towards the opposition and other select people if you get my drift.
    good player but fails at being a decent human being from what i have seen.

  • Comment number 35.

    28.
    At 09:10 2nd May 2012, dogeared wrote:

    @27

    Evra was rightly booed for his part in the incident.

    He got away with verbally abusing Suarez with references to his sister's private parts.

    Nice eh? But acceptable to the FA because he didn't refer to the colour of her skin.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    yeah that is acceptable, im guessing you have never played a match that consists of 22 men on a pitch playing to win a match, you can mention there mother father sister brother uncle aunt second cousin, it should only end in a bit of banter back and forth and hopefully result in someone losing the ball or spitting the dummy out.... being racist on the pitch is something that is not accepted, i was watching a AM game about 4 months back, someone in the crowd started with racist slurs, both sets of fans and both teams turned on them in a shot. its not acceptable, and if suarez's sis looks anything like him she is also unacceptable ;0)

  • Comment number 36.

    33.
    At 09:20 2nd May 2012, rob_of_the_rovers - the real one not the imposter

    thats was due to a fans compliant though, seems an investigation reacts differently to a fan than the person that was actually abused. i hope we arent going down the road we were a few months back where you try to make suarez did nothing and evra is the real culprit!!

  • Comment number 37.

    @31

    As it happens I agree Suarez should have been punished, but not to the extent that he was.

    What was completely unjust however was that Evra got away with his part and was described as a 'reliable witness' by the FA despite the admission of verbal abuse against Suarez.

    @30

    Totally agree.

    Suarez has been wrongly vilified, and Alex Ferguson played a significant part in stirring up ill feeling towards him - if anyone wants to see a truly odious man in football then look no further than the manager of Man United.

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 40.

    @36

    I was stating that Terry did not get off scott free as the previous poster had suggested. Suarez was rightly banned.

  • Comment number 41.

    Tim Vickery.

    As usual, a voice of reason in a sea of idiots.

  • Comment number 42.

    (most of the Utd 'fans', surprise surprise)

  • Comment number 43.

    @15

    The irony of your comments is hilarious - you tarnish the peoples of a whole continent with factually and historically inaccurate comments in your feeble attempts to castigate Suarez for his 'racist' behaviour. You are no better than the man you are writing about, in fact worse because your command of the English language is clearly better than his.

    Perhaps you should read up on the colonial history of South America and the impact on it's subsequent 'Democracies' as well as the US's disgraceful involvment in this area since the early 1900s

    I'm neither a Liverpool or Chelsea fan but comments like this make me want a spanking of Chelsea on Saturday with at least a brace from Suarez, who's footballing skills we are lucky to have grace our game here in England

  • Comment number 44.

    #11 Kennys_Heroes wrote:
    You should follow that up and demonstrate to us how this "attempt" was not justified and that "such behaviour", as you put it, is NOT acceptable in Uruguay or other Spanish-speaking countries, and that the likes of Valencia and Hernandez at Man Utd. have never been heard using such terms when speaking Spanish themselves.

    ---> First off, I love your underlying assumption that language is the same all over Latin America. Ecuador, Mexico, Uruguay, all the same thing. No matter that the distance between Uruguay and Mexico is about the same as between the UK and China.

    As it happens, though, your assertion that Hernandez has never been heard using "such terms" is flat-out wrong. Here's an interview he gave when he was playing for Chivas:
    http://www.chivascampeon.com/noticia/2009/

    "Me gustó mucho el gol del Negrito". (Translation: I really liked the goal scored by "El Negrito", meaning one of his teammates)

  • Comment number 45.

    44,

    Nice.

  • Comment number 46.

    @King Red

    If Evra admitted to an FA panel that he verbally abusing Suarez then why didn't he get punished? Those after all are the rules of the game.

    I'll tell you why - because the panel was made up of Ferguson's pals.

    I think you will also find that Suarez has indeed kept his mouth shut and played his football since the apology - so fair play to him, hope you will agree eh?

  • Comment number 47.

    And let's be honest - Evra comes across as a horrible human being.

  • Comment number 48.

    #28
    If you can't see the difference between racism and being rude then I feel a bit sorry for you.

    This incident however is over, he was guilty and has been rightly punished. Case closed.

  • Comment number 49.

    #47
    Based on what? Seems a little harsh.

  • Comment number 50.

    The crying wolf, the shouting of the 'n' word about people while accusing others of racism, that sort of thing.

  • Comment number 51.

    46.
    At 09:58 2nd May 2012, dogeared wrote:

    @King Red

    If Evra admitted to an FA panel that he verbally abusing Suarez then why didn't he get punished? Those after all are the rules of the game.

    I'll tell you why - because the panel was made up of Ferguson's pals.

    I think you will also find that Suarez has indeed kept his mouth shut and played his football since the apology - so fair play to him, hope you will agree eh?
    =========================================
    Fergusons pals???? conversation over............. absolute rubbish, whats worse is people like you are still supporting him!

    Fergusons pals!!! thats paranoia

  • Comment number 52.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 53.

    woops, comment 43 was meant for @14...

  • Comment number 54.

    I couldn't care less about the Suarez/Evra episode: suspect LS is an unsavoury character anyway, which makes it annoying that he is undoubtedly a good player.

  • Comment number 55.

    #50
    If you're referring to the incident at Stamford Bridge, it's been known for ages now that Evra had nothing to do with the allegation of racism.

    Try and keep up.

  • Comment number 56.

    55,

    And the other?

  • Comment number 57.

    26.At 09:01 2nd May 2012, Jesus the Teddy Bear wrote:
    I'm gonna go to Dubai and grope my wife in public whilst highly intoxicated and insulting anyone who looks at me funny.
    _____________________________

    In fact that happens quite a lot.

  • Comment number 58.

    What about the other? He accused Suarez of being racist because Suarez was indeed being racist.

    Was that wrong of him?

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    Lol.

  • Comment number 62.

    Unbelievable, aren't they.

  • Comment number 63.

    "again fergie has recieved more fines and bans than any other prem manager,"

    Well he has been around for a lot longer than anyone else.

  • Comment number 64.

    Tim, Excellent piece as usual. Without wanting to revisit the "Suarez Affair" in too much detail, I thought, after reading the 115 page FA Report, that the punishment was disproportionate and unfair - and I'm an Evertonian! Instead of making an example of Suarez they should have invested the time and effor to educate players in what is and is not acceptable.

    Re the universal support Suarez has in Uruguay, this is unquestionable. What is questionable is if this support extends to Liverpool F.C. At the recent Wembley semi-final, support for the Toffees came from a small town in the north-west of Uruguay - Rosario. Here, founded in 1920, can be found Club Atlético Everton - one of six teams competing in the local amateur league. Club president, Jorge Fodere, along with many of the Club's members, watched the game and were as disappointed as I was with the final result (as were the Evertonianos at clubs in Chile & Argentina).

    Divided by an Ocean, united by a name.

    Vivamos Everton!
    John

  • Comment number 65.

    60.At 10:19 2nd May 2012, King Red wrote:

    You sir are a disgrace and what is wrong with society today.
    You don't care about racism you just want another stick in which to beat Liverpool with.

    You come on here and act all indignent about what Suarez said but in reality you don't care.

  • Comment number 66.

    54.
    At 10:09 2nd May 2012, SpearMaster wrote:
    I couldn't care less about the Suarez/Evra episode: suspect LS is an unsavoury character anyway, which makes it annoying that he is undoubtedly a good player.
    ________________________________

    Your last comment is the main reason why other fans try to get mileage out of the situation.
    I am astounded by the "politically correct" comments they post considering how the British behave when they go abroad.

  • Comment number 67.

    "At the time of the Suarez scandal Gus Poyet said in Uruguay this was normal, like baiting someone for being fat, or having ginger hair."

    It seems to pro-Suarez supporters are tripping over themselves. I've heard the argument that 'negrito' is a friendly term in Uruguay, a term of endearment. Now I read that Poyet said it was just like giving someone a 'friendly' ribbing for being fat!?!

    Well the language experts on the panel said that 'negrito' could be considered offensive even in Uruguay, if used in the context of an argument. I think they used an example that if a Uruguayan shouted across to someone on the other side of the street 'hey negrito...' asking them whether they'd like to play football, then that's okay because a friendliness and rapport exists. The experts however said that if someone used the same phrase in an argument, where animosity exists, then it is racially offensive, even in Uruguay.

    Of course Liverpool fans choose to ignore the experts opinion, instead choosing to believe King Kenny's hunch that Suarez was indeed trying to be 'friendly and reconciliatory' when he was talking to Evra. The rest of the football world however could see the footage for what it was and subsequently see the unstinting support for Suarez from LFC as one of the most shameful things to happen in English football for some time.

  • Comment number 68.

    67,

    What a load of overblown nonsense you've written.

  • Comment number 69.

    All those Man U supporters who think Ferguson is so clean on this issue would be wise to read this ...

    http://articles.latimes.com/1986-06-14/sports/sp-10729_1_scotland-and-uruguay

    from what he said as Scotland manager at the 1986 World Cup about Uruguay and then think again about the whole Suarez incident.

  • Comment number 70.

    Tim,

    Please let not forget that this is the same player who practically caught the ball on the goal line to deny Ghana and then celebrated on touch line without shame. I accept that diving and cheating is now part and parcel of the game so he is no different from rest of the professionals, threfore, I won't hold his diving against him.

    I have nothing against Uraguay or Suarez but if they are still willing to give him a hero status, then they are as equally biased. Still I understand if they want to support him as he is one of their own but then people like in post #1 should not complain of english hypocrisy

    Disclaimer: I am not English and I stand against racial discrimination

  • Comment number 71.

    Anyone who watched the Norwich v Liverpool match and the FA Cup semi final would have seen that Suarez is a fantastic player, in my view one of the best in world football in terms of skill and natural ability. He's had a difficult time adapting and can be a bit of a hothead but any team including the two Manchester's would love to have him. If it's true that Spurs decided not to go for him because he was too similar to Van Der Vaart, then someone at WHL was an idiot!

  • Comment number 72.

    If the people who have spent hours and hours of time complaning about the racist acts of Suarez had instead used their efforts to confront real racism then some good might have come out of this.

    In the same week as Suarez was charged a young white lad was badly beaten by a gang of a different race in Manchester for walking throught their area! Surely that deserves more attention than what has been given to this case.

    Also how can any of you call Suarez an unsavory person? You do not know him. You are only judging him from his football performances. He seems outside of football a quite humble and quiet family man.

  • Comment number 73.

    The side-aching hilarity of Man Utd fans commenting on the misdemeanors of anyone at all is a joy to witness.

  • Comment number 74.

    68. CoalitionOfTheWilting wrote: "What a load of overblown nonsense you've written."

    Tell me why? I read the report as a neutral and formed my own opinion, the same opinion shared by seemingly the entire footballing world. Most Liverpool fans just followed King Kenny. Did you read the FA report? Can you argue with any of the points I've made? If so, go ahead, I'll gladly listen.

    But I suspect you won't because you seem happier using the LFC appoint-blame-elsewhere technique (i.e comment 47: "And let's be honest - Evra comes across as a horrible human being")

  • Comment number 75.

    In 1986, Scotland played Uruguay in the World Cup. Ferguson was Scotland's manager ... this is what FERGUSON said about Uruguay in his post match conference.

    "I mean, it’s not just a part of football, it’s the whole bloody attitude of the nation. You can see that attitude there. The whole thing. They (Uruguayans) have no respect for other people’s dignity."

    Not that Ferguson ever bears a grudge of course ;)

    Those who still question the reason why so many LFC fans have problems with the punishment metered out to Suarez would be very wise to read the WHOLE of the FA report in detail. Especially the way in which Evra, Ferguson etc changed their stories to match officials and then later played on the "non-handshake" so much.

    Evra is as much a disgrace to football as Suarez is being portrayed as - neither of them came out of the incident(s) with any respect. However what was wrong was that only one of them was punished, no criminal proceedings were forthcoming (because it was one word against another (conveniently)) and the FA system of punishment is based on "balance of probability" not "proof".

    If anything should be learnt from the Suarez incident it's that the FA cannot in future afford to "convict" on balance of probability in such cases - it has to be at the same level as criminal proceedings i.e. proof and in future the FA should refer any allegations of racism to the police and let them and the CPS decide on the action required. That way it's fair to all parties (not just some who have "mates" in the FA).

  • Comment number 76.

    65.
    At 10:28 2nd May 2012, clummers wrote:

    60.At 10:19 2nd May 2012, King Red wrote:

    You sir are a disgrace and what is wrong with society today.
    You don't care about racism you just want another stick in which to beat Liverpool with.

    You come on here and act all indignent about what Suarez said but in reality you don't care.
    ========================================================
    and you know that how??
    I previously worked with victims of hate crimes, just to blow your comment out of the water i dont just care about racism i spent 5 years of my life attempting to make it a thing of the past in schools across wales. your comment is childish and off the mark. its clear the only people that dont care about racism is the people still supporting suarez! even Kenny has said he should have dealt with the situation differently. whats worse is that evra being the clear victim was abused even more at anfield......... says it all really.
    Clummers your comment is so off the mark

  • Comment number 77.

    67.At 10:33 2nd May 2012, socrates_says wrote:
    The rest of the football world however could see the footage for what it was and subsequently see the unstinting support for Suarez from LFC as one of the most shameful things to happen in English football for some time.
    _______________________________

    Really ?

    The only reason it made news in mainland Europe was because the length of the ban was deemed as unjust.
    Apart from a small report on the day the 8 game ban was issued there has not been any correspondence printed or reported about the Evra/Suarez affair.
    It appears the BBC like to drag it up when there is a slow news day or to detract attention from other stories.

  • Comment number 78.

    "I read the report as a neutral and formed my own opinion"

    I don't believe you one iota. And I suspect I'm not the only one.

  • Comment number 79.

    "I previously worked with victims of hate crimes"

    Of course you did.

  • Comment number 80.

    @76 "even Kenny has said he should have dealt with the situation differently"

    But crucially he hasn't said WHAT he would do differently - perhaps he is referring to the initial contact with the match officials on the day ? Read the FA report if you haven't already done so.

  • Comment number 81.

    But I suspect you won't because you seem happier using the LFC appoint-blame-elsewhere technique

    -----------------------------------------------

    Come on, that's a but harsh. Everyone knows NOTHING is the fault of LFC, their players, staff or fans. Ever.

    Shame on you for suggesting it.

  • Comment number 82.

    72.
    At 10:49 2nd May 2012, clummers wrote:

    If the people who have spent hours and hours of time complaning about the racist acts of Suarez had instead used their efforts to confront real racism then some good might have come out of this.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    its what i done for a living, its not an easy subject and its not all one sided but the bottom line here is that suarez done it on TV, he's an idol to some people and a role model for lots of kids, thats why imo it has to be highlighted. as a country we have been doing so well stomping out the racism, suarez just put us back a few steps. the long and short of it is that with today's teenagers being so easily influenced someone could have literally been killed..... and then not shaking evra's hand, well that was just stupid!

  • Comment number 83.

    76.At 10:53 2nd May 2012, King Red wrote:
    ____________________________

    You are correct racism is wrong , but I think the real issue here is that the Evra/Suarez situation has been blown out of all proportion by people defending and attacking it (not pointing the finger at you by the way ).

    With my job I have worked in Africa for several months , I have seen racism in its extreme.
    For people to put Suarez on the same level as that just to score points of opposition fans is just showing their ignorance.

  • Comment number 84.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 85.

    @82 if it was "on TV" where was the video evidence ? That's just making it up as you're going along. Unlike the evidence against John Terry (the media darling).

    Would you want to shake the hand of someone who had got you banned for something when you strongly felt you had done nothing wrong ? The Prem League and FA should have abandoned the handshake to avoid any misreading of the situation. Evra was as much to blame as Suarez on the day and why did Liverpool have to walk down the line of the home team that day (convention says it's the home team who walk down the line of the away team) ?

  • Comment number 86.

    76.At 10:53 2nd May 2012, King Red wrote:

    Well how very convienient!

    1. Suarez said a word - Probably was aggressive and should have been punished
    2. Liverpool/Kenny didnt handle it perfectly but assumed he was innocent until proven guilty and wanted to back their man which they have every right to do.
    3. Evra was the instigator and in no way completly innocent in this and this is the main isssue most liverpool fans have.
    4. The FA used this to make an example, he never had the chance of a fair trial.
    5. Suarez is now a national hate figure through what could be put down to iggnorance and you for one are continuing to make this so.

  • Comment number 87.

    #83
    The case could have been used to address the issue of race better but I don't think the reaction of Dalglish and LFC especially helped the situation. If they'd come out, admitted what Suarez did was wrong but said he didn't mean it like that if they truly believed tha,t then the debate could have been widened and used for something good.

    Instead they came out and denied all wrong doing and attacked Evra. After that it was never going to be used as anything but a high profile story.

  • Comment number 88.

    Racism is wrong.

    Is that a statement sufficient to skirt around BBC censorship? Or do I have to be more explicit than that?

  • Comment number 89.

    4. The FA used this to make an example, he never had the chance of a fair trial.

    --------------------------------------------------

    The FA have always done this, look at what happened to Rio.

  • Comment number 90.

    83.
    At 11:04 2nd May 2012, repo wrote:

    76.At 10:53 2nd May 2012, King Red wrote:
    ____________________________

    You are correct racism is wrong , but I think the real issue here is that the Evra/Suarez situation has been blown out of all proportion by people defending and attacking it (not pointing the finger at you by the way ).

    With my job I have worked in Africa for several months , I have seen racism in its extreme.
    For people to put Suarez on the same level as that just to score points of opposition fans is just showing their ignorance.
    ====================
    completely agree 100%, Suarez is a gifted footballer with a very nice live ahead of him, the people you worked with prob wouldnt understand that what suarez done was classed as racist, as racism to them is being dragged out of your home and physical beaten or worse... killed. Repo im sure you will agree that after experiencing real racism you will be a bit sensitive towards the suarez incident, i mean that could have kicked off across the country. We as a nation have come a long way in regards to racism, something as stupid as football shouldn't hinder what we have achieved.

  • Comment number 91.

    @84 - Suarez is NOT a racist even Evra has said so !

    It's your type of labelling of this that is wrong. Suarez was found guilty on "balance of probability" not "proof". John Terry will be afforded a different level in a criminal court.

    Do you know Suarez as a person ? appalling ?

    It's these types of generalizations from people and the media that are dangerous.

  • Comment number 92.

    "Suarez is a racist - proven."

    Yet another incorrect statement.

  • Comment number 93.

    78. CoalitionOfTheWilting

    That's what makes me laugh about Liverpool fans or Suarez supporters, they accuse anyone else of 'not reading the report'.

    Well I did, from start to finish and formed my own unbiased opinion (as an Aldershot fan). I read it because I didn't like the idea that someone had been unfairly punished but I changed my opinion as I went along.

    The key point of the report was 267: "we were troubled by the fact that Mr Suarez advanced this case to us and relied on it to the extent that he did, when it was unsustainable. The suggestion that he behaved towards Mr Evra at this time in a conciliatory and friendly way, or intended to do so in using the word "negro", is, in our judgment, simply not credible. His evidence is again inconsistent with the video footage. "

    Even Mr McCormick, LFC's lawyer, accepted in his closing submissions that Suarez's explanation wasn't credible!

    And if you had read the report, you'd realise that this was the key point. Context. If he had said the word he ADMITTED to saying in a friendly way, then no problem. But it wasn't friendly at all, it was said in a confrontational manner, in which case it WAS racially offensive according to the language experts (whose testimony LFC accepted fully).

    You are a prime example of everything I hate about this case. Because Dalglish stood by his prize asset so unstintingly (and to most, disgracefully), Liverpool fans follow their pied piper, assigning blame elsewhere as if racism is a throwaway subject.

    Please feel free to quote me any part of the report that proves a miscarriage of justice has taken place. I suspect it might take you a while because you clearly haven't read it.

  • Comment number 94.

    86.
    At 11:09 2nd May 2012, clummers wrote:

    76.At 10:53 2nd May 2012, King Red wrote:

    Well how very convienient!
    ==============================
    what convienient about that?

  • Comment number 95.

    79.
    At 10:56 2nd May 2012, CoalitionOfTheWilting wrote:

    "I previously worked with victims of hate crimes"

    Of course you did.
    =============================================================
    if you want il send you my CV as prove.... gfy

  • Comment number 96.

    @90 Much of the media hype surrounding what happened on the day, especially Evra's ill-advised comments to French TV inflamed the situation not LFC or Suarez himself. LFC had a right to defend their player especially on the lack of conclusive evidence - we have to all remember that this wasn't judged in a court of law. It was judged by the FA on the word of one person against another, no conclusive video evidence of the incident(s) etc.

    That is why in future racial incidents on the pitch MUST be referred to the police/CPS imo - it takes away the he said/she said stuff and is more likely to kick racism out of the game (on the pitch) in this country.

    Let's face it that is what would happen to non-players - they would be taken to court. The media and the FA grandstanded the incident partially because of timing and the FA stance against Sepp Blatter at the time.

    But also remember that what Evra ADMITTED he said to Suarez was also grossly offensive and could also have been referred to a criminal court.

  • Comment number 97.

    90.At 11:13 2nd May 2012, King Red wrote:
    ________________________________

    Actually in Africa you will find that the wealthy black people are just as bad as white people in terms of racism.
    I could tell you a few stories as I have worked abroad in various countries since about 1990.
    Here is an example , in Europe I was employed as a consultant in a multinational company which employs about 40,000 people worldwide. We had a conference which I attended with 800 of the senior managers.
    I noticed that not one of them was black , now that is what I call real racism.

  • Comment number 98.

    89.At 11:12 2nd May 2012, United wrote:

    The FA should have used this as an opportunity to engage all the clubs and put together a code of practice and ethics that the players of all countries that ply their trade in England need to abide by.

    All cultures are different but if they have taken steps to educate all players on what is acceptable in the UK then gives the players a clear basis of what they can and can't do.

    This was an opportunity borne out of an unpleasant situation which they have missed

  • Comment number 99.

    #93
    Spot on, great post.

  • Comment number 100.

    93,

    I'm pretty sure I didn't say anything about not reading the report.

    That the 'report' is not a legal document, was compiled by the FA themselves to justify their position and does not even comply with any lawful level of guilt assessment, you can quote it all you want.

    The 'report' was a joke.

 

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