Suarez faces minimum six-match FA ban
Published 22:31 16/11/11 By David Anderson
Luis Suarez faces a minimum six game ban after being charged with racially abusing Patrice Evra.
The FA have decided they have enough evidence following their month-long investigation to charge Liverpool's Uruguayan striker and they have far-reaching powers to punish him if he is found guilty.
Although there is no precedent, the FA have the scope to hit Suarez with a hefty fine and a long suspension because of the seriousness of the offence.
Liverpool immediately put out a statement in response to the charge, saying their man would be pleading not guilty.
Suarez is due back at training on Thursday after international duty and the club say he will request a personal hearing to clear his name.
The Reds will fear the FA could make an example of Suarez because of the spate of racist allegations, most notably the accusations against John Terry.
Suarez, who was suspended for seven games while at Ajax for biting an opponent, has always pleaded his innocence and insisted he said nothing racist to Evra during Liverpool’s draw against Manchester United at Anfield a month ago.
He said last week that what he said to Evra was not an insult but his own “way of expressing myself. I called him something his team-mates at Manchester call him, and even they were surprised by his reaction”.
“There were two parts of the discussion, one in Spanish, one in English.”
However, the FA have decided he has a case to answer after quizzing him, the United defender and the match officials, as well as studying the TV footage.
In a statement, the FA said: “It is alleged that Suarez used abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Manchester United’s Patrice Evra contrary to FA rules.
“It is further alleged that this included a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Patrice Evra.”
Liverpool have been steadfast in their support of their South American star and say they will fight the charge.
A club statement said: “The club this afternoon received notification from the Football Association of their decision to charge Luis Suarez and will take time to properly review the documentation which has been sent to us.
“We will discuss the matter fully with him when he returns from international duty, but he will plead not guilty to the charge and we expect him to request a personal hearing.
“Luis remains determined to clear his name of the allegation made against him by Patrice Evra.
“The club remain fully supportive of Luis in this matter.”
The FA will wait for Suarez to formally reply to the charge, and his case will be handled by their governance body.
His fate will then be decided in the next few weeks by an independent tribunal of three or four people.