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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee