Football

Suarez stance leaves sour taste

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The FA's fight against racism appears a thankless task. (©GettyImages)
The FA's fight against racism appears a thankless task. (©GettyImages).

While the football at the DW Stadium on Wednesday evening was always likely to be a sideshow comparing to the furore surrounding Luis Suarez, we yet again saw Liverpool football club very effectively drag the attention away from their under-fire Uruguayan striker towards their own take on the controversial ruling.

After releasing a statement following the confirmation of the eight-game ban for Suarez, Liverpool took the spotlight partially away from their forward and onto themselves as they spoke out about the reliability of the evidence handed to the Football Association.

For a club who have stated they will wait until handed the reasoning behind the ban to confirm whether they will appeal the sentence, the Anfield outfit have been very quick to question the committee's decision.

Just like they accused the FA for seemingly making a decision before the evidence was presented to them, Liverpool have made a similar snap judgement before being given the FA's official reasoning.

Their defence of Suarez since the news broke has been as admirable as it's been expected. Whether it be the families of the Hillsborough victims, or former players, Liverpool have always treated their own well.

Prior to kick-off on Wednesday evening, a statement on behalf of the players was released to back Suarez, maintaining that the squad as a whole didn't believe him to be a racist.

It mirrored the statement released the previous evening, which saw the club divulge information surrounding Suarez's background, including mentioning that his grandfather was black.

It's probably more of an attempt to prevent a landslide of accusations towards Suarez that his guilt in this instance may be a pre-curser to further racist cases, but the club's continual attempts to make this a known fact begs the question of whether they've misunderstood the nature of the FA's ruling.

On Wednesday evening, during their pre-match warm-up, the whole of Liverpool's matchday squad donned Suarez t-shirt's to represent their backing of the player.

You'd never challenge their commitment to the cause, but you'd wonder what Glen Johnson or masseur Sylvan Richardson thought of the act.

Blackburn Rovers forward Jason Roberts said: "I understand it is a show of solidarity but I'm not sure about the message itself. I wonder if all the players are happy with it. As a player I would be uncomfortable."

Former Manchester United defender Paul McGrath added on Twitter: "As an ex-footballer having experienced racist comments throughout my career I was saddened to see Liverpool players wear those t-shirts last night."

Anti-racism campaigner and Ex-Newcastle United full-back Oliver Bernard said: "I really didn't think it was fine to wear the T-shirts. I can understand the club's side of it, but in society we can't accept racism and give support to a player who has used racist words.

"It's not OK to use racist language and the message they sent out yesterday was a bit wrong. I don't mind them giving support to Mr Suárez, but I just think it's a bit wrong to wear the T-shirt because that means they have allowed racist language. I just don't understand it."

What sort of message did Liverpool send out when they wore those t-shirts? They made it clear the squad is united behind their player, but the wider issues make the move look un-calculated.

How can the Football Association even start to tackle racism in English football if the minute they make a ruling, the club appear to make a stand. It isn't so much a protest against them, but more with how they've dealt with the sensitive issue of racism. The club may claim to back the Kick it Out campaign, but seemingly only when it suits them.

It appears obvious the club don't respect the decision, perhaps because of previous gaffs on the part of the FA, but while the club may wish to back their player and then appeal, they can't be seen to treat the decision dismissively.

The club's vehement defence of Suarez could easily be interpreted as Liverpool undermining the fight against racism.

Topics:
Football
Premier League
Luis Suarez
Liverpool
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