Banned Suarez says sorry over racism row
Published 00:00 05/01/12 By David Maddock
Luis Suarez has offered his first public apology for the racism row that has rocked football.
The Liverpool striker reiterated that he used the word Spanish 'negro' only once in a heated exchange with Manchester United's Patrice Evra.
He said: "I never, ever used the word in a derogatory way and if it offends anyone then I want to apologise for that.
"I admitted to the commission that I said a word in Spanish once, and only once, and I told the panel members that I will not use it again on a football pitch in England."
Suarez now wants to serve out the remaining seven games of his eight-match ban and move on from the incident.
He has offered the apology in the hope that the wider public accept he never intended there to be any racist context to his exchange with Evra.
Liverpool, meanwhile, have also conceded they have made mistakes in the handling of the case.
They accept their player should not have used the word, and insist they want to accept the ban and move on to diffuse the row that has stirred so much controversy for both them and United.
There is a feeling among the Anfield hierarchy that mistakes were made during the process, with one official agreeing the club was perhaps 'naive' in the way they approached Suarez's defence.
But there is also still a belief within the club that their player has been wrongly vilified, because of a disciplinary process they believe is not rigorous enough for such a gravely serious subject as alleged racism.