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May 25, 2012

Suarez: Ban was 'unbelievable'

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has reopened the racism row which dogged his side's season by calling his suspension "strange and unbelievable" in a recent interview.

Suarez, 25, was found guilty by an independent FA disciplinary commission of having racially abused Manchester United full-back Patrice Evra in a Premier League game last October.

An eight-match ban was handed down, which Liverpool chose not to appeal, but both club and player have never accepted Suarez's guilt over the incident.

"The suspension, I suppose, you could call strange and unbelievable,'' Suarez told Russia Today. "There was not a single convincing proof that I had done any of the things they accused me of doing.

"I accepted it without saying anything, obviously because they could have made [the suspension] longer and it would have just made the whole thing continue, but my conscience is completely calm, and so is that of the club and my family. Everyone knows that in Uruguay there is a huge black population.

"I had team-mates and friends of both colours all the time in the national team, in Liverpool, in Holland, where the majority are from Surinam, and I never had any problem with them. Holland is one of the countries in the world where there is the highest number of black players and at no point was there an issue."

The Uruguayan forward believes that he was targeted for a long-ban because of the club he plays for, whilst also insisting that he cares little for the opinions of opposition fans.

"It seems to me they had to get rid of a Liverpool player and, well, they definitely were gratified by all of this. What the English press has said about me does not interest me,'' he added.

"What interests me is what they say about me in Uruguay and in Liverpool, and they have always been very supportive. After the suspension I was told the fans would taunt me, they would whistle me, insult me and shout at me, but to be honest it is not something I was worried about.

"Everyone whistled me in all of the stadiums I played in all the time anyway, even before the allegation of racism. I tried to pay it as little attention as possible to focus on what I like to do, which is to play."

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