Liverpool's handling of Luis Suarez row criticised

Anthony Walker
Image caption The Anthony Walker Foundation was set up after the teenager's death in 2005

Lessons should be learned from Liverpool Football Club's handling of the Luis Suarez row, an anti-racism charity has said.

The Anthony Walker Foundation (AWF), set up after the racist murder of the teenager, said there were concerns about how the case was handled.

Leona Vaughn, chief executive of the AWF, said there were also worries about how it reflected on the city.

The football club said it had a strong relationship with the AWF.

Suarez was banned for eight matches for racially abusing Manchester United player Patrice Evra during a game in October.

Liverpool players wore T-shirts in support of the Uruguayan player and manager Kenny Dalglish has backed the player saying he should not have been banned.

And Dalglish and Suarez apologised following the player's refusal to shake Evra's hand at the return match between the two teams on Saturday.

Club funded film

Ms Vaughn said it was "positive thing" that "racism was back under the spotlight."

But she added: "I think that Suarez and his behaviour was really regrettable and and was a real disappointment for everyone involved, including the football club.

"Everybody has been concerned about the way it has been handled and the way the city has been represented.

"Our message is to kick racism out of football and we don't want that message to get confused."

Anthony Walker died after he was attacked in a park in 2005.

The football club funded the AWF anti-racism film 'Colour Blind' in 2009, written by Lenny Henry and filmed in Liverpool, and the foundation is due to host its annual hate crime conference at Anfield in March.

Positive influence

Ms Vaughn added: "We support victims and work in preventing hate crime through challenging attitudes and we do that through our schools and youth projects.

"We work with Liverpool Football Club in community coaching with our workshops so that the message is getting out."

A spokesperson for Liverpool Football Club said: "For the last six years the club has developed a strong relationship with the Anthony Walker Foundation, which included the club hosting the annual Anthony Walker Tournament in 2007 at the Academy in Kirkby.

"The activities that have been an important part of this partnership include delivering workshops to young people from schools in the city, taking children to Anfield to take part in awareness events, and the production of films focusing on the positive influence that black footballers have had at LFC."

An event to mark Anthony Walker's 25th birthday will be held at the Brink on Parr Street, Liverpool later.

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