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Jan 9, 2012

Dalglish defends Reds over racism

Kenny Dalglish has defended Liverpool against allegations the club is not doing enough to support the fight against racism.

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Liverpool have come under fire in recent weeks, with Luis Suarez handed an eight-match ban after being found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra and a supporter having allegedly racially abused Oldham's Tom Adeyemi during Friday night's FA Cup clash. The decision to wear T-shirts in support of Suarez prior to the ruling and a number of recent statements from the club have also drawn criticism from various quarters.

Kick It Out chairman Lord Ouseley said last week that "Liverpool FC need to take a hard look at themselves", while Piara Powar, the head of European football's anti-racism group, said the club's actions have "done them a lot of damage and they have not conducted themselves in a very palatable way".

Dalglish, though, is adamant that Liverpool have not wavered in their desire to eradicate prejudice and says they "don't want racism anywhere near football and certainly not anywhere near this football club".

He told the club's official website: "Over the past few weeks, there has been a perception that the football club isn't doing what it should be doing, but I don't think the football club would ever go down that road. We will always support the official campaigns related to racism.

"Obviously there was a big issue with Luis. The players showed support for Luis which was fantastic, but then some people interpreted that wrongly as the players saying they're not interested in the fight against racism.

"That is totally and utterly rubbish. If we can help to eradicate racism or discrimination from any part of the society, with the help of anybody at Liverpool Football Club, then that help will be forthcoming.

"We don't want racism anywhere near football and certainly not anywhere near this football club."

He added: "Our football club is based on being a football club serving the community, and whoever is in the community we will treat as an equal. It never has been a club that's discriminated and never will be one that discriminates against anyone else.

"For us, the football club is more important than any one individual, whether that person be a supporter, a player or the owner. It's not about the individual, it's about the football club and we should be very proud of this football club."

A 20-year-old man arrested on suspicion of racially abusing Adeyemi was released on bail on Sunday. The man, from Aintree, was arrested on Saturday by Merseyside Police, who are investigating the incident.

Dalglish said: "All we can say - it's a police matter - is if Tom, the police want any help in any way, shape or form then we'll give it to them. For me, the most important thing is that as a football club we all stick together. We all have a responsibility to act responsibly."

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