Liverpool insist Luis Suarez decision came from club rather than sponsors

 

Liverpool have dismissed claims they were pressured into issuing apologies over the Luis Suarez affair by shirt sponsors Standard Chartered.

The bank, who are almost halfway through a four-year deal worth £81million, were involved in discussions with the club about events on Saturday when Suarez refused to shake the hand of Patrice Evra, the man he was found guilty of racially abusing.

But the Reds insist it was they and not Standard Chartered who decided to take the decisive action in the form of three statements from the Uruguay international, manager Kenny Dalglish and managing director Ian Ayre.

"Ian Ayre kept Standard Chartered fully informed of developments over the course of the weekend," said a statement from Liverpool.

"The actions the club decided to take on Sunday were supported by Standard Chartered."

The bank yesterday confirmed they had held dialogue with the Anfield officials, expressing their concerns.

"We were very disappointed by Saturday's incident and have discussed our concerns with the club," said a statement from Standard Chartered.

Liverpool, having steadfastly defended Suarez ever since allegations were made against him by the Manchester United defender on October 15, were quick to act following the incident at Old Trafford.

Condemnation both in this country and overseas, particularly in the United States where the club's owners Fenway Sports Group are based, brought decisive action from the Anfield hierarchy.

And Piara Powar, executive director of Football Against Racism in Europe, said the move, although overdue, was needed for the healing process to begin.

"The apologies are welcome, it's definitely a step in the right direction," he told Sky Sports News.

"I would say it probably is time now that we started to heal, we started to look at the issues that have been thrown up and we move forward as people are calling for.

"I think there are still some unresolved questions Liverpool need to look at.

"There's still some lessons for the rest of us that we need to consider in the coming weeks, but it's not too late, it's never too late to say sorry.

"I think it shows British football has a lot to do really. There's a number of questions that have struck us and one of those is clubs need to stop paying lip service and really take some of these social issues seriously.

"And they (Liverpool) need to think about how they manage star players.

"Clearly Kenny Dalglish's concern here was to manage Luis Suarez and his protestations of innocence.

"But is it enough to say Luis Suarez is a top player for Liverpool FC, therefore we have to pull out the stops and damage our own reputation?

"I don't think it is and I think that's something clubs need to look at very carefully."

PA

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<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
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<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
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I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
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