Suarez 'only has himself to blame' for storm over alleged slur

Striker had chance to apologise, says Kick It Out – but Poyet accuses Evra of 'crying like a baby'

Luis Suarez has only himself to blame for the racism charge he now faces because he failed to apologise for, or personally explain, the Spanish slang which he claims has been the cause of the anger felt by Manchester United's Patrice Evra, the Kick it Out organisation said last night.

Liverpool are preparing a defence of the Uruguayan striker which will centre on the striker's declaration that he used a word which Evra's "team-mates at Manchester call him." That word might be negrito, which means "little black man" in Spanish, but is used in South America both as a term of endearment and as a gentle wind-up.

It is possible that an apology for any perceived slight could have enabled Liverpool to avoid a Football Association commission hearing which left their manager, Kenny Dalglish, reflecting yesterday on how his club have been on the receiving end of a series of perceived injustices from the football authorities. But none has been forthcoming, with the first public suggestion that Suarez used any slang coming when he addressed the Uruguyan press last week.

A spokesman for Kick It Out said last night: "It would appear that Patrice Evra had no other option than to lodge a complaint in the absence of an apology or any sort of explanation. The process has begun and we await the outcome."

The FA's decision, on Tuesday evening, to charge Suarez with abuse that "included a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Patrice Evra" divided opinion intensely yesterday, with the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) preparing to throw its weight behind Liverpool's attempts to demonstrate that Suarez is not guilty.

Liverpool are preparing a defence which will centre on the allegedly benign nature of slang derived from the Spanish word for black, negro. The AUF is seeking help from the Uruguayan Embassy in London and its own Foreign Office as it seeks to bolster that aspect of the case for the impending hearing.

The sense of indignation felt by Uruguayans was also graphically revealed when the Brighton & Hove Albion manager, Gustavo Poyet, accused Evra of "crying like a baby" over alleged racist comments and another to join the Suarez cause last night was Liverpool's first black player, Howard Gayle, who insisted Liverpool would not support the player if he were guilty.

Poyet is concerned that the charges brought against his compatriot set a dangerous precedent. "I believe [with] Luis Suarez, it's simple," he said. "I played football for seven years in Spain and was called everything, because I was from South America , and I never went out crying like a baby, like Patrice Evra, saying that someone said something to me. I'm really sad about this charge because it's going to become too easy. I can make a complaint about any opposition manager, and if I take it as far as I can he's going to get charged. Why are we going to take one person's word over another one's? It's too risky."

Poyet, 44 , claimed there was insufficient evidence against Suarez, though the FA has been acutely aware of the linguistic complexities of the case. Its painstaking work on linguistic nuance has largely contributed to the investigation taking five weeks and careful reading of the more serious of two charges could see Suarez escape relatively lightly if he is found to have included a reference to the "colour" or Evra, rather than "ethnic origin" or "race." There is a significant difference between the Spanish word for black – negro, of which negrito is a derivation – and the same word in its widely understood racial context. The substantial number of United players interviewed by the FA may be key to the commission hearing.

Dalglish said Liverpool had felt they were on the receiving end of a lot. "Everybody at every football club thinks that someone can do better or be more helpful but you just get on with it," he said. "Most of the time you don't want to say anything but if you don't say anything they'll walk all over you. They might still walk all over us anyway but you've got to justify yourself, you've got to have an opinion and you've got to make a statement of a belief you've got. At the end of the day we know we've got to play the game and we will play it but it doesn't mean we haven't got an opinion about when we're playing it and it also doesn't mean to say we've got an excuse. "

The manager, who said he wanted the commission to do its work "quickly but correctly," insisted that the charge hanging over Suarez would not affect his form "for any other reason than, like everyone else, sometimes you don't play as well as you are capable of playing."

World shrugs shoulders over Fifa chief's 'race storm'

That Joey Barton was ready to give his Twitter's-worth was no surprise, and neither was the rest of the world's general bemusement over this country's furious reaction to Sepp Blatter's latest example of how not to govern world football. The headline in the Sydney Morning Herald said it all. "British press call for Blatter's head," it said. This is seen by much of the globe as another English disease, only less contagious. Blatter and his entourage are, though, becoming increasingly conscious of the negative perception in which he is held in this country, and the drip-drip effect that has on his wider reputation – his response to Rio Ferdinand's despairing texts over the 75-year-old Swiss's remarks and subsequent desperate attempt to "clarify" the comments demonstrate just that.

Ferdinand remarked: "Fifa clear up the blatter comments with a pic of him posing with a black man... I need a hand covering the eyes symbol!!" Blatter was stung enough to direct a reply: "The 'black man' as you call him has a name: Tokyo Sexwale [a former Robben Island prisoner and South African government minister]. He has done tremendous work against racism." Blatter is due to speak to the BBC today in an interview arranged before this current "race storm", as one Swiss newspaper put it, blew up.

Barton was one of a host of players to attack the Fifa president. He tweeted "Words fail me as to how much of an imbecile this guy really is. taxiforblatter".

Robin Scott-Elliot

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
News
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'