Luis Suárez racism ban: PFA head Gordon Taylor supports FA’s decision

• Taylor backs ‘very strong message’ over racist abuse • Lord Herman Ouseley urges consistent tough stance Luis Suárez’s eight-match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra has been supported by the head of the Professional Footballers’ Association as “a very strong message to the rest of the world”. The Uruguyan Liverpool striker is expected to appeal against the suspension, with his defence being that he was unaware that language acceptable in his country was viewed as racist in Europe. Liverpool reacted angrily to the punishment for the 24-year-old, who was also fined £40,000 by an FA independent regulatory commission. Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the PFA, said the sanction was an important message, especially after the outcry at the Fifa president Sepp Blatter’s remarks – later retracted – that racism on the pitch should be settled by a handshake. Taylor said: “This was an independent commission experienced in law and football and they must have had compelling evidence, and it sends out a very strong message to the rest of the world. “I understand the point about cultural differences but if you come to this country all players have to abide by not just the laws of the game but the laws of the land as well. Referring to someone’s skin colour has got to be offensive – it’s self-evident. “No one can say the FA have ducked this issue and bearing in mind outcry in this country over Sepp Blatter’s remarks it sends out an important message. This is a timely reminder for the FA, the PFA and the clubs to continue education programmes particularly for players coming from abroad: it is never right to make reference to a person’s skin colour or nationality.” Taylor said the high-profile nature of the issue, with two of the biggest clubs in the world, would reinforce the message. He added: “This is a situation involving two of our biggest clubs and a very sensitive time and it reiterates the message we want to get out. We are a multicultural society and a cosmopolitan league and players must have equal respect for people regardless of their nationality or skin colour. “You can understand Liverpool being upset as they are a top quality club with a top quality manager but perhaps it is a timely reminder that players new to this country need to be advised about what is unacceptable.” Lord Herman Ouseley, the chairman of the anti-racism campaign Kick It Out, also backed the FA’s punishment and urged the game’s authorities to maintain a tough stance. Asked if this was the landmark case Kick it Out needed, Ouseley told the BBC: “It’s not that Kick it Out needed it, it’s football needs it. “It is quite important that the football authorities take the decisive action where the evidence is there, where they carried out thorough investigations, to impose sanctions that would hopefully prevent other players from not maintaining the standards of conduct that are expected in any professional arena. “And professional football is such that if players who are very expensively paid to perform their functions, providing entertainment, also have a code of conduct that if breached it’s professional misconduct and therefore it requires the sanctions that are to be imposed. “It remains to be seen whether the FA will maintain a tough stance and consistency that is needed to see this through, we’re still in a process…” The former FA executive director David Davies told the BBC the case was “one of the most difficult of modern times because of language and cultural issues”. “The FA has been at the forefront of fighting racism over more than a decade, and using football to do so – perhaps way ahead of Uefa, let alone Fifa,” said Davies. Luis Suárez Liverpool Manchester United The FA guardian.co.uk © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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A news article on 2011-12-21 12:39:12 from: The Guardian

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