Suarez is charged with racist abuse

Evra to use team-mates' testimony when FA makes complicated case against Liverpool striker

The Football Association is likely to draw on the testimony of
Patrice Evra's Manchester United team-mates when Liverpool's Luis
Suarez appears on charges of racially abusing the French defender
during last month's Premier League match at Anfield.

United have always been convinced of Evra's claims that Suarez used the "n-word" against him 10 times and a substantial number of the club's players, as well as manager Sir Alex Ferguson, are understood to have been interviewed as part of the five-week FA inquiry. Though the case has been a complicated one, involving the linguistic nuance of what Suarez allegedly said, the FA is convinced that the Uruguayan "included a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Patrice Evra" during the match.

Though Liverpool indicated immediately last night that the player would plead not guilty, the charge is potentially a severe blow which could mean a player upon whom they are already heavily dependent being banned for at least three matches and possibly more.

In a case of potentially huge significance, the FA must first prove to a commission of four people and be chaired by an independent QC that Suarez did indeed racially abuse the Frenchman.

Though Suarez has admitted using words which would be familiar to some of Evra's teammates – negrito, which translates as "little black man" is widely accepted as a term of endearment and to poke fun, in South America – it will be for the FA to prove something more sinister.

Such cases have been rare in the past because of the difficulty of proof. When Newcastle United's Turkish midfielder Emre Belozoglu was charged with racist abuse against Everton four years ago, he left his personal hearing with the case unproved – despite written evidence submitted to the commission from Everton's Joleon Lescott, Joseph Yobo and Tim Howard.

The Reading defender John Mackie did issue a public apology, donated two weeks' wages to Kick Racism Out of Football and was banned for eight matches, five of which were suspended, after making racist remarks to Sheffield United striker Carl Asaba in 2003 – though he had admitted the offence.

The lesser of the two offences Suarez has been charged with is the use of "abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour." Typically, that would bring a two-match ban. Suarez is due back in Liverpool from international duty today, when the club will waste no time in discussing the charge with him.

If the Uruguayan is convicted, he could conceivably face a police inquiry, though Merseyside Police could not do that unless they receive a complaint. Evra would not necessarily need to be that complainant. Merseyside Police said in a statement last night: "A complaint has not been received by the Force in relation to an allegation of an offensive comment made by a Liverpool Football Club player to a Manchester United Football Club player during a match on 15 October."

Liverpool's statement said: "We will discuss the matter fully with [Luis] when he returns from international duty, but he will plead not guilty to the charge and we expect him to request a personal hearing. United said they would not comment "in accordance with guidance from the authorities".

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence