FA report: Suarez evidence unreliable

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez gave "unreliable" evidence to a panel investigating accusations he racially abused Manchester United defender Patrice Evra, a Football Association report said on Saturday.

The document detailed the reasons for Suarez's eight-match ban, handed out earlier this month for abusing France defender Evra in a 1-1 Premier League draw at Anfield on October 15.

"Mr Suarez's evidence was unreliable in relation to matters of critical importance," the report said, adding "Mr Evra was a credible witness".

The Uruguayan international, the report added, used the word "negro" or "negros" seven times during their confrontation.

Suarez, for his part, has denied the FA charge and has consistently denied he is a racist. The ban was suspended pending an appeal by Liverpool who gave him their full support when the punishment was imposed.

"Mr Suarez's words, which included a reference to Mr Evra's colour, were insulting," said the FA document.

The independent panel took advice from linguistic experts in Latin American Spanish after Suarez said he called Evra "negro in an affectionate and friendly way which was common in Uruguay."

Suarez added he would use the term "negro" when he spoke to black Liverpool team-mate Glen Johnson and that he never intended to be racially offensive.

The FA argued that "the conduct of Mr Suarez has damaged the image of English football around the world, given the conduct occurred during the course of one of the most famous games in English football, watched by a huge number of people around the world."

Suarez rejected that argument.

The report said it was important to emphasise that Suarez, whose grandfather was black, had many black friends and the FA did not contend he acted as he did because he was a racist.

Suarez, who was also fined 40,000 pounds over the incident, has until January 13 to lodge an appeal.

Liverpool said Suarez, the club and their legal advisers would take time "to read, digest and properly consider the contents of the judgment and will make no further comment at present."

DETAILED ACCOUNT

The 115-page FA report gives a detailed account of the clash between the pair and the evidence given to the three-man panel by both parties and other witnesses.

It concludes: "Mr Evra was a credible witness. He gave his evidence in a calm, composed and clear way. It was, for the most part, consistent, although both he and Mr Suarez were understandably unable to remember every detail of the exchanges.

"Mr Suarez's evidence was unreliable in relation to matters of critical importance. It was, in part, inconsistent with the contemporaneous evidence, especially the video footage.

"For example Mr Suarez said he pinched Mr Evra's skin in an attempt to defuse the situation. He also said his use of the word "negro" to address Mr Evra was conciliatory and friendly. We rejected that evidence," the report added.

"To describe his own behaviour in that way was unsustainable and simply incredible given the players were engaged in an acrimonious argument. That this was put forward by Mr Suarez was surpri