James Lawton: Liverpool do not retreat with honour but self-serving scorn

They continue their resistance to the verdict in all but the resolve to fight it

It would have been infinitely more honourable if Liverpool had said to hell with the Football Association and their version of justice and appealed the Suarez verdict.

Wrong-headed perhaps, more subjective, you have to believe than anything handed-down by the independent regulatory panel obliged to attempt to draw a line against racial abuse on a football pitch, but still a course of action consistent with all that one of the nation's most prestigious football clubs had done and said since the affair erupted last October.

Instead, Liverpool continue their resistance to the verdict in all but the resolve to fight it, expose it and emerge, win or lose, with the reputation of an organisation determined to fight for what they believe to be right. As it is, they refuse to join in the widespread desire for some rough agreement that Suarez – without being convicted as a racist – did indeed use references to his opponent's skin colour not affectionately but as the means of provocation in a taut situation.

They do not merely express reservations about the FA's process of justice. They say that far from attempting honestly to resolve a difficult situation, the game's ruling authority has set a sickening precedent for the most unscrupulous behaviour between rival clubs in the future.

"This case," they charge, "has also provided a template in which a club's rival can bring about a significant ban for a top player without anything beyond an accusation."

We could not get much further from the line in the sand with this desert storm of rebuttal of the confirmed fact that Suarez made multiple references to Patrice Evra's race and that his evidence was deemed inconsistent by a panel headed by a Queen's Counsel and including a hugely respected professional football man without connections to any of the opposing parties.

Liverpool submitted to the process, marshalled their case and lost.

Now they scorn the court, such as it was, and by their action suggest that they believe the governance of the national game is worthy of such little respect that rather than fight against it to the limits of their means, they will retreat even further into their belief that it was not Evra who was the victim but Suarez and the interests of his club.

Liverpool's assertion that the FA has "damaged the reputation of one of the Premier League's best players" is undeniable, of course, but then you might say the same of the Dutch FA which gave him a lengthy ban after finding him guilty of biting into the shoulder of one of his opponents while playing for Ajax. The cases are unrelated in all but the possibility that Suarez made another decision to behave in a way that ultimately could not be accepted.

Much of Suarez's defence was based on the argument that he was behaving in a way which in his native South America would not have been deemed either hostile or offensive. That aspect of the case was thoroughly debated and investigated and found, when it was placed in the context of an English football match, to be unsupportable. The panel's 115-page report was – outside of something submitted to the Appeal Court or the House of Lords – a document that convinced most unattached observers that both arguments – and a considerable amount of visual evidence – had been scrupulously weighed. Liverpool plainly do not agree and yet they choose not to submit fresh arguments to the appeal procedure. Many will see this is as a statement that hardly resounds with conviction.

What seems much more apparent is the reluctance of an organisation to accept that their strongest instincts have been exposed as deeply self-serving. The opportunity was for a little grace and the concession that in a difficult,and often hate-filled world, perfect solutions are not always available. That chance was blown, along with any suggestion of the courage that comes with the truest conviction.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam