Kenny Dalglish defends Liverpool support of Luis Suarez

 

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish insists the team's show of support for banned striker Luis Suarez had been "wrongly interpreted" as he defended the club's record on race relations.

The Reds were criticised in some quarters for their staunch defence of Suarez, who received an eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.

Liverpool players wore t-shirts in support of the Uruguayan as they warmed up to play Wigan before Christmas, just after the punishment had been handed down.

Since then, the club have apologised to Oldham defender Tom Adeyemi after he was allegedly the subject of racist abuse by a supporter at Anfield during an FA Cup tie last Friday night.

A 20-year-old man arrested on suspicion of racially abusing Adeyemi was released on bail on Sunday.

The head of European football's anti-racism group FARE, Piara Powar, accused the Reds of creating a "tribal fervour" with their reaction to the Suarez affair, but Dalglish felt the sentiment behind the t-shirt gesture had been misunderstood.

He told the club's official website www.liverpoolfc.tv: "Obviously there was a big issue with Luis. The players showed support for Luis which was fantastic, but then some people interpreted that wrongly as the players saying they're not interested in the fight against racism.

"That is totally and utterly rubbish. If we can help to eradicate racism or discrimination from any part of the society, with the help of anybody at Liverpool Football Club, then that help will be forthcoming.

"We don't want racism anywhere near football and certainly not anywhere near this football club."

Liverpool opted earlier this month not to appeal against the length of Suarez's punishment having received the full written judgement from the independent commission appointed by the Football Association to hear the case.

On the subject of the alleged abuse towards Adeyemi, Dalglish said: "If Tom, the police want any help in any way, shape or form then we'll give it to them. For me, the most important thing is that as a football club we all stick together. We all have a responsibility to act responsibly."

The Scot does not believe Liverpool would have the worldwide following they enjoy if they were perceived as being racists.

He said: "Our football club is based on being a football club serving the community, and whoever is in the community we will treat as an equal.

"It never has been a club that's discriminated and never will be one that discriminates against anyone else.

"For us, the football club is more important than any one individual, whether that person be a supporter, a player or the owner. It's not about the individual, it's about the football club and we should be very proud of this football club."

PA

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