Luis Suarez sorry for offence caused over Patrice Evra affair

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has issued a general apology after receiving an eight-match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra.

Suarez has not apologised directly to the Manchester United defender whom he was found guilty of calling a "negro".

He said: "I admitted to the commission that I said a word in Spanish once, and only once.

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

He added: "I told the panel members that I will not use it again on a football pitch in England."

An independent Football Association commission ruled that Suarez, 24, had racially abused Evra during a 1-1 draw between Liverpool and Manchester United in October.

The commission's report stated that Suarez had used the term "negro" seven times in around two minutes and claimed he had damaged the reputation of English football around the world with his conduct.

Fixtures Suarez will miss

  • 3 Jan: Man City (Premier League)
  • 6 Jan: Oldham (FA Cup R3)
  • 11 Jan: Man City (League Cup)
  • 14 Jan: Stoke (Premier League)
  • 21 Jan: Bolton (Premier League)
  • 25 Jan: Man City (League Cup)
  • 28 Jan: FA Cup R4 (if Liverpool beat Oldham)
  • 31 Jan: Wolves (Premier League)
  • 6 Feb: Tottenham (Premier League, if Liverpool lose to Oldham)

It also criticised the striker for providing "unreliable" and "inconsistent" evidence at the hearing.

Liverpool decided not to appeal against the Uruguayan's suspension but continued to challenge the independent commission's findings.

Both player and club issued statements  on Tuesday in which they refused to accept responsibility and criticised the way the affair had been handled.

In his earlier statement, Suarez said: "I will carry out the suspension with the resignation of someone who hasn't done anything wrong and who feels extremely upset by the events.

"In my country, 'negro' is a word we use commonly, a word which doesn't show any lack of respect and is even less so a form of racist abuse. Based on this, everything which has been said so far is totally false."

Liverpool manager Dalglish argued the Uruguayan's background and nationality should have been taken into account by the independent commission.

"I would have thought that if you pronounced the word properly, you maybe understand it better," he said.

"If you get into asking a linguistic expert, which certainly I am not, they will tell you that the part of the country in Uruguay where he [Suarez] comes from, it is perfectly acceptable.

"His wife calls him that and I don't think he is offended by her."

Suarez had been widely criticised for refusing to issue an apology to Evra and Blackburn striker Jason Roberts believes the Uruguayan  had no justification in using the offensive term.

"To use those words in that tone and context is certainly not acceptable in our leagues," Roberts told BBC Sport.

"It's not good enough to say, 'It's OK where I come from, so we do it here'. That's not the way we judge our society or the Premier League. They were ugly scenes and I'm worried that kids would have seen this."

And Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor said Suarez's punishment sends a warning that racism in the game will not be tolerated.

"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.

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