July 29, 2021

Race row hearing starts

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Liverpool's Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring a goal against Queens Park Rangers during their English Premier League soccer match at Anfield, Liverpool, England, Saturday Dec. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Tim Hales)

Luis Suarez’s race-row hearing has begun under a cloak of secrecy.

The Liverpool striker is charged by the FA with allegedly aiming racist abuse at Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.

It is believed the case will last around two days, with Suarez and Evra both due to give evidence.

If found guilty, the Uruguayan star can expect to be handed a lengthy suspension from the game.

Evra has claimed that Suarez used an offensive term on several occasions during United’s 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Anfield in October.

Suarez has denied the allegations and has the full backing of his club as he attempts to clear his name.

The disciplinary hearing will focus on the players’ versions of events. Suarez’s defence is based around the nuances of the Spanish language and cultural differences.

He is expected to argue that what was said is not considered offensive for someone of his background in his native South America.

The FA are closely analysing the semantics of the incident – and that is part of the reason why the case has taken such a long time to resolve.

Suarez told Uruguayan media earlier this month: ‘There is no evidence I said anything racist to him. I said nothing of the sort.

‘There were two parts of the discussion – one in Spanish, one in English. I did not insult him. It was just a way of expressing myself. I called him something his team-mates at Manchester call him, and even they were surprised by his reaction.’

Evra reported his complaint to match referee Andre Marriner, who included it in his report.

The FA announced the charge last month, alleging Suarez used ‘abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour’ towards Evra.

‘It is further alleged that this included a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Patrice Evra,’ said the FA.

Liverpool said after the charge: ‘Luis remains determined to clear his name of the allegation made against him by Patrice Evra. The club remain fully supportive of Luis in this matter.’

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