Liverpool will not appeal Luis Suarez eight-match ban


Liverpool will not appeal against Luis Suarez's eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra, the club announced tonight.

The Uruguayan forward was handed the suspension by the Football Association on December 20, following a lengthy investigation, as well as being given a £40,000 fine, while the independent regulatory commission's 115-page report was released on New Year's Eve.

Having assessed the findings, Liverpool have notified the Football Association they will not contest the ban - which takes effect immediately, ruling him out of tonight's match against Manchester City.

An official FA statement read: "Liverpool FC have this afternoon informed the FA that they will not be appealing the decision of an Independent Regulatory Commission in relation to the recently proven misconduct charge against Luis Suarez.

"Suarez will be suspended with immediate effect for a period of eight matches, starting with this evening's fixture against Manchester City.

"Suarez was also fined £40,000 and was warned as to his future conduct."

Liverpool and their manager Kenny Dalglish have been resolute in their support for Suarez since the now infamous October meeting with United.

Dalglish and his players wore Suarez T-shirts in the warm-up before their match against Wigan last month, leading to criticism in some quarters.

Despite deciding not to appeal, the club released a statement on their official website making their dissatisfaction with the case clear.

"Liverpool Football Club have supported Luis Suarez because we fundamentally do not believe that Luis on that day - or frankly any other - did or would engage in a racist act," it read.

"Notably, his actions on and off the pitch with his team-mates and in the community have demonstrated his belief that all athletes can play together and that the colour of a person's skin is irrelevant."

The statement from Liverpool said: "It is our strongly held conviction that the Football Association and the panel it selected constructed a highly subjective case against Luis Suarez based on an accusation that was ultimately unsubstantiated.

"The FA and the panel chose to consistently and methodically accept and embrace arguments leading to a set of conclusions that found Mr. Suarez to "probably" be guilty while in the same manner deciding to completely dismiss the testimony that countered their overall suppositions.

"In its determination to prove its conclusions to the public through a clearly subjective 115-page document, the FA panel has damaged the reputation of one the Premier League's best players, deciding he should be punished and banned for perhaps a quarter of a season."

The statement went on to make clear Liverpool's continued commitment to anti-racism measures in football.

"English football has led the world in welcoming all nationalities and creeds into its Premier League and its leagues below, and Liverpool Football Club itself has been a leader in taking a progressive stance on issues of race and inclusion," it continued.

"The Luis Suarez case has to end so that the Premier League, the Football Association and the club can continue the progress that has been made and will continue to be made and not risk a perception, at least by some, that would diminish our commitment on these issues.

"It is time to put the Luis Suarez matter to rest and for all of us, going forward, to work together to stamp out racism in every form both inside and outside the sport.

"It is for this reason that we will not appeal the eight-game suspension of Luis Suarez."

A statement from Suarez was also released on Liverpool's official website. It reads:

"First of all I would like to thank everyone so much for all the help and support I have received during these last few weeks.

"Thank you to my family, my friends and everybody at LFC (the staff, manager and coaching staff, the directors, my team mates and everyone who is working on a daily basis for this great club) and thank you especially to all the fans who made sure I never felt let down for one second. During those days I understood more than ever what 'You'll Never Walk Alone' means.

"Like many of you I was born into a very humble family, in a working class neighbourhood, in a small country. But I was born and raised learning what respect, manners and sacrifice mean. Thanks to my family, from my first club where I started playing, to my transfer to Holland in Europe, I learned the values which made me the person I am now. Never, I repeat, never, have I had any racial problem with a team mate or individual who was of a different race or colour to mine. Never.

"I am very upset by all the things which have been said during the last few weeks about me, all of them being very far from the truth. But above all, I'm very upset at feeling so powerless whilst being accused of something which I did not, nor would not, ever do.

"In my country, 'negro' is a word we use commonly, a word which doesn't show any lack of respect and is even less so a form of racist abuse.  Based on this, everything which has been said so far is totally false.

"I will carry out the suspension with the resignation of someone who hasn't done anything wrong and who feels extremely upset by the events. I do feel sorry for the fans and for my team mates whom I will not be able to help during the next month. It will be a very difficult time for me.

"The only thing I wish for at the moment is being able to run out again at Anfield and to do what I like most which is playing football.

"Thank you very much."

The games Suarez will miss:

3 Jan, v Man City, Premier League

6 Jan, v Oldham, FA Cup

11 Jan, v Man City, Carling Cup

14 Jan, v Stoke, PL

21 Jan, v Bolton, PL

25 Jan, v Man City, CC

31 Jan, v Wolves, PL

6 Feb, v Tottenham, PL

When he can return:

11 Feb, v Man Utd, PL