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Feb, 11, 2012

Ferguson brands Suarez a "disgrace"

Sir Alex Ferguson delivered a scathing assessment of Luis Suarez's apparent refusal to shake hands with Patrice Evra, insisting the Uruguayan should never play for Liverpool again.

• Premier League review
• Dalglish defends Suarez
• Barnes blames media for spat

Manchester United edged Saturday's match 2-1 thanks to a brace from Wayne Rooney, but the headlines were created by Suarez who appeared to bypass Evra when taking part in the pre-match handshake. It was the first time the pair had come face-to-face since the Liverpool man had been banned for eight matches after being found guilty of racially abusing his United counterpart.

The incident led to a heated atmosphere at Old Trafford, with Evra almost injuring team-mate Rio Ferdinand inside the first 30 seconds in an attempted challenge on Suarez. The United defender also celebrated directly in front of the Uruguayan at the final whistle, but Ferguson was stunned by Suarez's part in the afternoon's events. "I couldn't believe, I just could not believe it," Ferguson told Sky Sports. "Patrice told me this morning, 'I'm going to shake his hand, I've nothing to be ashamed of.' But then Suarez refuses. He's a disgrace to Liverpool Football Club.

"Some players should not be allowed to play for Liverpool again, the history that club's got, and he does that. In a situation like today he could have caused a riot.

"I was really disappointed in that guy, it was terrible what he did. It created tension, you saw the referee, he didn't know what to do about it. It caught him off guard.

"It was a terrible start to the game and a terrible atmosphere it created."

Ferguson was asked if the traditional Premier League pre-match handshake should be discarded in order to avoid such moments. Suarez's refusal to shake hands mirrored a previous incident that saw Wayne Bridge do likewise to John Terry, but Ferguson insisted the real issue was to take the hardest stance possible against racism.

"The Premier League started that (the handshake) and it's never been a problem with regard to racism. It's never been a problem," said the United boss.

"Racism is an important issue. Football has come a long way from the days of John Barnes having bananas thrown at him. We can't go back, we have to go forward and ban it altogether."

Evra's post-match celebrations, aimed at the United fans but in the direct vicinity of Suarez, could also be deemed potentially inciting behaviour. Ferguson claimed he did not see Evra's actions, but when informed of the incident the Scot replied :"He shouldn't have done that."

Rio Ferdinand, who snubbed Suarez's handshake, later told MUTV: "After seeing what I saw I decided not to shake his hand. He's not got the respect that he needs to have in these situations and acknowledge he's made a mistake and say sorry. I lost all respect for the guy after that.

"It's a touchy subject at the minute and things could have been put to bed a little bit easier if the handshake had been done. It could have been resolved today, maybe, between the two people who are involved. After this, it's not great. It's disappointing. I expected more from the other guy but it wasn't to be."

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