Sports minister Hugh Robertson accepts this season's race controversies in the Barclays Premier League have "tarnished" the reputation of the game, but does not think the damage is irreparable.

October's dispute between Liverpool's Luis Suarez and Manchester United's Patrice Evra reared its head again on Saturday when the Uruguay striker, starting a game for the first time since his eight-match ban for racially abusing Evra, refused to shake the United and France full-back's hand during the pre-match ritual.

The incident came just over a week after John Terry was stripped of the England captaincy for Euro 2012 while he awaits trial on a charge of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand - a charge Terry denies.

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