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Dec, 31, 2011

Suarez evidence deemed 'unreliable'

The Football Association's independent regulatory commission handed Luis Suarez an eight-match ban for racism as it found his evidence to be "unreliable" and "inconsistent".

• Liverpool slam FA over Suarez verdict
• Suarez ban could be extended
• PFA chief critical of Suarez defence

The FA released a 115-page document on its website on Saturday evening to explain the decision to punish Suarez for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra on October 15.

Suarez, who was also fined £40,000 for the incident, has yet to begin his suspension as Liverpool wanted to study the regulatory commission's report before deciding whether to make an appeal. The Uruguay striker was missing for Friday's 3-1 victory over Newcastle as a result of a separate ban issued for improper conduct after making a gesture towards Fulham fans.

The report stated in its summary: "Mr Evra was a credible witness. He gave his evidence in a calm, composed and clear way. It was, for the most part, consistent, although both he and Mr Suarez were understandably unable to remember every detail of the exchanges between them.

"Mr Suarez's evidence was unreliable in relation to matters of critical importance. It was, in part, inconsistent with the contemporaneous evidence, especially the video footage. For example, Mr Suarez said that he pinched Mr Evra's skin in an attempt to defuse the situation. He also said that his use of the word 'negro' to address Mr Evra was conciliatory and friendly. We rejected that evidence.

"To describe his own behaviour in that way was unsustainable and simply incredible given that the players were engaged in an acrimonious argument. That this was put forward by Mr Suarez was surprising and seriously undermined the reliability of his evidence on other matters.

"There were also inconsistencies between his accounts given at different times as to what happened."

One of the key passages of the report centres on what was said between the two players during the flashpoint.

It reads: "Our findings of fact which are directly relevant to the Charge are as follows: (1) In response to Mr Evra's question 'F*****g hell, why did you kick me,' Mr Suarez said 'Because you are black'.

"(2) In response to Mr Evra's comment 'Say it to me again, I'm going to punch you,' Mr Suarez said 'I don't speak to blacks'.

"(3) In response to Mr Evra's comment: 'Okay, now I think I'm going to punch you,' Mr Suarez said 'Okay, blackie, blackie, blackie'."

Suarez originally denied the charge and said he "used the word 'negro' in a way with which he was familiar from his upbringing in Uruguay". However, the regulatory commission brought in language specialists, who determined that his remarks, given the heated situation between himself and Evra, would be understood as offensive in racial terms in Uruguay and Spanish-speaking America.

The report concluded by saying that Suarez pledged in the hearing that "he will not use the word 'negro' on a football pitch in England in the future, and we believe that is his genuine and firm intention.''

In a statement Liverpool said: "The club can confirm that they received the written reasons from the Regulatory Commission at short notice last night on the evening of the game against Newcastle United.

"The player, the club and our legal advisors will now take the necessary amount of time to read, digest and properly consider the contents of the 115 page judgment and will make no further comment at present.''

Liverpool have previously suggested they will appeal and have remained steadfastly behind their player, his team-mates controversially wearing T-shirts with Suarez's face on them prior to the draw at Wigan 11 days ago.

Liverpool have been given until January 13 to respond, meaning Suarez will be free to play in their next three games, including their Carling Cup semi-final, first leg trip to Manchester City on January 11.

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