Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has been banned for eight matches and fined £40,000 after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra.

The incident between the two players occurred during October’s meeting between Liverpool and United at Anfield, which was followed by an official complaint.

After being charged with misconduct by The FA in November, the governing body opened disciplinary proceedings against the Uruguayan international last week.

An FA statement read: “An Independent Regulatory Commission has today [Tuesday 20 December 2011] found a charge of misconduct against Luis Suarez proven, and have issued a suspension for a period of eight matches as well as fining him £40,000, pending appeal.”

Suarez has 14 days in which to lodge an appeal, during which time he is free to play for Liverpool.

A Liverpool statement read: “Liverpool Football Club is very surprised and disappointed with the decision of the Football Association Commission to find Luis Suarez guilty of the charges against him.

“We find it extraordinary that Luis can be found guilty on the word of Patrice Evra alone when no-one else on the field of play - including Evra's own Manchester United teammates and all the match officials - heard the alleged conversation between the two players in a crowded Kop goalmouth while a corner kick was about to be taken.

“The Club takes extremely seriously the fight against all forms of discrimination and has a long and successful track record in work relating to anti-racist activity and social inclusion. We remain committed to this ideal and equality for all, irrespective of a person's background.”

United have refused to comment on the charge.

On the player’s Twitter page, Suarez has revealed his disappointment at being found guilty.

Suarez said: “Today is a very difficult and painful day for both me and my family. Thanks for all the support, I'll keep working!”

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