Ollie Holt: “The FA decision to ban Liverpool’s Suarez for 8 matches shows racial abuse is not acceptable”

Liverpool Football Club is very surprised and disappointed with the decision. We find it extraordinary Luis can be found guilty on the word of Patrice Evra alone when no one else on the field of play — including Evra’s own Manchester United team-mates and all the match officials — heard the alleged conversation between the two players in a crowded Kop goalmouth while a corner kick was about to be taken. LFC considers racism in any form to be unacceptable — without compromise. It is our strong-held belief, having gone over the facts of the case, that Luis Suarez did not commit any racist act. It is also our opinion that the accusation by this particular player was not credible — certainly no more credible than his prior unfounded accusations. It is key to note that Patrice Evra himself in his written statement in this case said ‘I don’t think that Luis Suarez is racist’. The FA in their opening remarks accepted Luis Suarez was not racist.”

James Lawton focuses in on the crime which the FA wanted to neutralise, while Andy Hunter considers the impact of any Suarez ban on the rest of the Liverpool squad.

Getting into the nitty-gritty Sam Wallace says LFC believe the trial “was flawed” and David Maddock called the court-case a “witch-hunt,” however the larger groundswell of opinion is that the FA acted prudently in their effort to stamp racism from English football.

Tuesday’s Premier League action is then examined, and it’s tough reading for Steve Kean and Mick McCarthy. The situation is more dire at Ewood Park where Sparky is already the frontrunner to replace sorry Kean. At Molineux the dark clouds are gathering as scribes consider Wolves’ next run of fixtures.

Other topics include Gareth Barry’s importance to City, Fifa’s decision to ban emergency loans, and how Jermain Defoe’s 78-year-old cousin was stabbed.

Lastly the transfer gossip is overflowing as United move for a playmaker, Chelsea hope to have secured a new centre-half, while Arsenal look at a semi-retired left-back.

hat was the accusation against Saurez? It was one with which the panel concurred. He was guilty of misconduct and insulting behaviour and the use of racist language. You could translate that into some mild attempt at incitement to a loss of control in a player with whom you were engaged in a desperate battle for advantage. You could also say that in another context Saurez would have been guilty of nothing more than ‘cultural’ clumsiness. The decision was, however, much more emphatic. It said that Saurez had succeeded in inflaming his opponent in a calculated and unacceptable way. This could create an interminable argument about cause and effect but the gut instinct here is that a difficult but vital stand has been made. And, you may ask, against what precisely? Hopefully, it is the idea that racism, however it manifests itself, is in English football not consigned to the past.”

Andy Hunter considers Liverpool’s season without Suarez. “Suarez has scored five Premier League goals for Liverpool this season but that statistic does not begin to explain his importance. His goals, his assists and his breathtaking skill are the fundamental reason why Liverpool swiftly moved on from what appeared at the time at least to be the agonising departure of Fernando Torres to Chelsea. He is why, this season, in a division of increased competition and quality at the top of the Premier League, Dalglish’s men harbour genuine ambitions of returning to the Champions League following a two-year absence.”

Suárez claimed that what he said to Evra was not racist, merely a descriptive epithet, but for somebody who has lived in northern Europe for four years, including three years in Holland with Ajax, the Liverpool striker should have understood the sensitivity towards the word ‘negro.'”

It would be fair to say that Suarez, who learned his trade on the streets of Montevideo after moving to the Uruguayan capital at the age of seven with his mother and six brothers, has not been a stranger to controversy.”

There was an element of Macbeth in the way that Steve Kean snatched power at Blackburn Rovers and there was a Shakespearean quality about what was almost certainly his last match as their manager. Sam Allardyce, who was sacked after a 2-1 defeat to Bolton Wanderers and felt that his deputy had betrayed him, was at Ewood Park to see Kean’s downfall. ‘Big Sam,’ yelled the home and away ends at the club’s owners, who were thousands of miles away. ‘You should have kept Big Sam.'”

Consider this remarkable fact, though. Since Mancini took over at City two years ago this week, his team have faced the Barclays Premier League super powers of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham on 19 occasions and Barry has started all but one of those games. Last May, against Tottenham at home, he missed out because he was injured. It is a telling statistic, one that says everything for the way that Mancini has come to rely on a player who — along with Ivory Coast international Yaya Toure — has come to form the anchor of his midfield.”

Barry’s position at Eastlands can be contrasted with that of Nigel de Jong. Ian Herbert noted “Nigel de Jong, another of the players Mancini inherited from Hughes, is also unhappy, the Italian admitted, having fallen behind Gareth Barry in midfield. City are in no hurry to conclude contract negotiations after the Dutchman refused the terms put before him last summer. ‘I don’t think he is happy,’ Mancini said. ‘The first two months [of the season] Nigel had an injury and couldn’t play and after we played very well with Gareth and Yaya [Touré] in the middle. The player who is happy if he is not playing doesn’t exist.’ Yaya Touré’s departure to the African Cup of Nations immediately after the FA Cup third-round tie with Manchester United on 8 January may give De Jong an opportunity.”

Fifa End Emergency Loans: Paul Kelso delivers the bad news for lower league clubs in England. “The Daily Telegraph can reveal that after six years during which 2,400 players have moved under the system, the world governing body has ruled that emergency loans breach rules governing transfer windows and will be banned from 2014. In a conciliatory move, however, Fifa has agreed to canvas opinion on whether the transfer-window rules should be amended, something the Football League has long advocated… The move will hit the 72 Football League clubs who rely on emergency loans to cover unexpected injuries or weaknesses in their squads outside the two transfer windows, which are in the summer and January. It will also affect Premier League clubs who rely on loaning out promising young players who are short of first-team experience to clubs in the lower divisions throughout the season.”

Defoe’s Knife Crime: Tom Hutchison reports, “Jermain Defoe was shocked last night after his cousin was stabbed to death. Allan Edgar was knifed in the neck by robbers in St Lucia. The frail 78-year-old is believed to have walked in on two thieves after an evening at a neighbouring bar. A pal discovered him “in a pool of blood” the next morning. Spurs and England striker Jermain, 29, is still recovering from the killing of his brother Jade two years ago.”