Suarez 'only has himself to blame' for Evra furore


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The Independent Online

Luis Suarez has only himself to blame for the racism charge he now faces because he failed to apologise for, or personally explain, the Spanish slang which he claims has been the cause of the anger felt by Manchester United's Patrice Evra, the Kick it Out organisation said last night.

Liverpool are preparing a defence of the Uruguayan striker which will centre on the striker's declaration that he used a word which Evra's "team-mates at Manchester call him." That word might be negrito, which means "little black man" in Spanish, but is used in South America both as a term of endearment and as a gentle wind-up.

It is possible that an apology for any perceived slight could have enabled Liverpool to avoid an FA commission hearing. But none has been forthcoming, with the first public suggestion that Suarez used any slang coming when he addressed the Uruguayan press last week.

A spokesman for Kick It Out said last night: "It would appear that Patrice Evra had no other option than to lodge a complaint in the absence of an apology or any sort of explanation. The process has begun and we await the outcome."

The FA's decision, on Tuesday evening, to charge Suarez with abuse that "included a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Patrice Evra" divided opinion yesterday, with the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) throwing its weight behind Liverpool's attempts to demonstrate that Suarez is not guilty.

Liverpool are preparing a defence which will centre on the allegedly benign nature of slang derived from the Spanish word for black, negro. The AUF is seeking help from the Uruguayan Embassy in London and its own Foreign Office as it seeks to bolster that aspect of the case.

The sense of indignation felt by Uruguayans was also graphically revealed when the Brighton & Hove Albion manager, Gustavo Poyet, accused Evra of "crying like a baby" over alleged racist comments.

"I believe [with] Luis Suarez, it's simple," he said. "I played football for seven years in Spain and was called everything, because I was from South America, and I never went out crying like a baby, like Patrice Evra. I'm really sad about this charge because it's going to become too easy. Why are we going to take one person's word over another one's? It's too risky."