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Liverpool will not appeal Suarez's 8-match ban

Updated: January 03, 2012, 16:07


FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2011 file photo, Manchester United's Patrice Evra argues with Liverpool's Luis Suarez, left, during their English Premier League soccer match at Anfield, Liverpool, England.  Liverpool striker Luis Suarez called Manchester United's Patrice Evra a

LONDON(AP) Liverpool will not appeal against Luis Suarez's eight-match ban for repeatedly racially abusing an opponent during a match, even though the striker again defended his actions and the club renewed its criticism of the English Football Association's disciplinary panel on Tuesday.

By accepting the punishment despite not accepting culpability, Suarez is not scheduled to be eligible again until the Feb. 11 match against Manchester United, whose defender, Patrice Evra, was the target of the striker's insults.

"I will comply with the sanction, but with the acquiescence of someone who has not done anything and who feels extremely upset about what has transpired,'' Suarez said on his Twitter account.

The Uruguay international will also have to pay a 40,000 pound ($62,000)-fine for calling Evra "negro'' or "negros'' seven times in October during a 1-1 draw at Anfield.

"I've never - ever - had a single racial problem with any team mate, player, or person with a skin color or race different from my own. Never,'' Suarez said. "As a result, I am very upset about what has been said about me in recent weeks, all of which have been very far from the truth. This is further compounded by the helplessness I feel for not having done anything yet being accused of something I did not nor would ever do.''

Despite a public outcry, Liverpool continues to back the player who was signed from Ajax a year ago for around $35 million.

"The (Football Association) panel has damaged the reputation of one of the Premier League's best players, deciding he should be punished and banned for perhaps a quarter of a season,'' Liverpool said in a statement.

The 18-time English champions rebuked the independent FA panel, which was headed by a lawyer, for branding Suarez's evidence unreliable.

"Mr. Evra was deemed to be credible in spite of admitting that he himself used insulting and threatening words towards Luis and that his initial charge as to the word used was somehow a mistake,'' Liverpool said. "The facts in this case were that an accusation was made, a rebuttal was given and there was video of the match. The remaining facts came from testimony of people who did not corroborate any accusation made by Mr. Evra.''

Suarez's claim that the racial slur used in the match was lost in translation was rejected by the FA in its 115-page report that was released on Saturday.

"In my country, the Spanish word for 'black' is a term commonly used and does not symbolize any disrespect, let alone racism,'' Suarez said on Tuesday. "Everything that has been said beyond that is completely and utterly false.''

In justifying the severity of the sentence, the commission said there was likely to be a "corrosive effect on young football fans'' if players were seen racially abusing opponents.

While insisting that Suarez did not "engage in a racist act,'' Liverpool said it needed to move on from the episode.

"Continuing a fight for justice in this particular case beyond today would only obscure the fact that the club wholeheartedly supports the efforts ... to put an end to any form of racism in English football,'' Liverpool said. "It is time to put the Luis Suarez matter to rest and for all of us, going forward, to work together to stamp out racism in every form both inside and outside the sport.''

Liverpool also suggested United launched the disciplinary action because it is a fierce rival of the Premier League champions.

"This case has ... provided a template in which a club's rival can bring about a significant ban for a top player without anything beyond an accusation,'' Liverpool said.

Liverpool, which is owned by Boston Red Sox tycoon John Henry, insists that it has "been a leader in taking a progressive stance on issues of race and inclusion'' as part of an inclusive English game.

"In far too many countries, the issues of racism and discrimination have been covered over or ignored,'' Liverpool said.

The footballers' union in England said Liverpool's decision not to appeal "shows good judgment.''

"We hope they can now move on and ensure that all their employees understand the issues involved and we look forward to them playing an important role in our campaign against discrimination,'' Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor said.

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