The judgement on Liverpool's Luis Suarez's eight-match ban for racially abusing the Manchester United defender Patrice Evra promises to be the biggest and most comprehensive in the Football Association's history as the independent commission that came to the decision prepares to release its "written reasons" this week.
The document, which is being put together by the commission chairman, Paul Goulding QC, is thought to run to more pages than the 28-page commission report into the "Battle of Stamford Bridge" involving Manchester United players and Chelsea groundstaff that was released three years ago – and eight months after the original incident.
The commission is hopeful that the Suarez document, which could run to more than 50 pages, will be released by the end of the week to Liverpool and Manchester United, and made public on the FA's website. Only then will the 14 days in which Liverpool have to make a decision whether or not to appeal begin. Given their response thus far, it seems inevitable that they will do so.
The high level of scrutiny on the decision made by Goulding, former manager Dennis Smith and FA councillor Brian Jones, means that the commission – and the FA – cannot afford for there to be any flaws or loopholes in their reasoning. The governing body is well aware that every word will be pored over. Some FA officials have already been the subject of threats on social media.
Liverpool would not comment yesterday on the decision by Suarez to accept a charge of improper conduct for giving Fulham fans the finger after Liverpool's game at Craven Cottage this month. It means he will be suspended for one game, ruling him out of the Newcastle match tomorrow – he was also given a £20,000 fine.
The FA was surprised Liverpool appealed over the size of a £20,000 fine for failing to ensure the conduct of their players in the same game. The club had accepted the charge but disputed the fine. An independent commission rejected the appeal.
Suarez's one-match ban was identical to that given to Birmingham's Stephen Carr for a "wanker" gesture made to Aston Villa fans last year.