Luis Suarez, the Liverpool forward, has risked the wrath of the Football Association by speaking for the first time about the allegation he racially abused Manchester United's Patrice Evra at Anfield last month.
Though Suarez's remarks to media in his native Uruguay served merely to protest his innocence – insisting he did not insult the French international and suggesting the defender's own team-mates were surprised by his reaction – they are unlikely to be looked upon favourably by the FA, who has made it clear it does not expect any of the people involved in the incident to make public statements while an investigation is ongoing. The FA has written to United for their observations of the allegation. The defender claims Suarez used a racist slur no fewer than 10 times duringthe predictably fractious 1-1 draw on 15 October.
Liverpool contest that version of events and their manager, Kenny Dalglish, has also criticised the FA for the length of the investigation, now entering its fourth week.
Suarez may yet be punished for breaking his silence before that process concludes, though it is likely he simply told reporters in Montevideo much the same as he told the FA. "The FA will have to clarify things with [Evra]," Suarez said. "There is no evidence I said anything racist to him. I said nothing of the sort. There were two parts of the discussion, one in Spanish, one in English.
"I did not insult him. It was just a way of expressing myself. I called him something his team-mates at Manchester call him, and even they were surprised by his reaction."
That claim, of course, could serve to muddy the waters of the investigation yet further. It is believed the FA has found no television evidence of any racist abuse while, unlike the John Terry case being investigated simultaneously, there have been no complaints to Merseyside police.
"These things happen in football, in the heat of the moment," said Suarez. "They leave someone looking bad. Now we have to see how the matter is decided and then, for him as much as me, we will have things clear. And wherever the fault lies, we are going to have to say sorry."