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Former Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli says he “regrets everything” about club’s handling of Luis Suarez racial abuse affair

Luis Suarez, Patrice Evra

Liverpool’s former director of football says the club “let football down” by backing Luis Suarez after he was accused of racially abusing Patrice Evra.

Suarez was handed an eight-match ban after being found guilty of using racist language towards Evra in a match between Liverpool and Manchester United in October 2011.

The Reds publicly backed the Uruguay international, with squad members wearing supportive T-shirts before a clash with Wigan a few weeks after the incident.

The Uruguay international then refused to shake Evra’s hand ahead of the return fixture between the arch-rivals in February.

And Comolli, who left Anfield in 2012, says he “regrets everything” about the way Liverpool handled the case.

“I regret pretty much everything,” he told The Athletic. “I regret our attitude, I regret the way we approached it, I regret my reaction at the FA tribunal. I sat throughout the two or three days there. I didn’t react well when they gave the sentence because I didn’t agree at the time.

“It was probably the worst moment of my career because of frustration. We isolated ourselves from the rest of the world and that was the wrong thing to do.

“We should have taken advice from outside, legal advice but also PR advice, from someone who wasn’t caught in the storm, who would say ‘hold on, you should wake up, because the reality outside is not what you are feeling internally’.

“The fact it was a player from Manchester United almost made things for us a thousand times worse than it should have been.

“We reacted in the worst way because it was Manchester United and the rivalry between the two clubs. I feel that we didn’t look after Luis as we should have. We didn’t give him the defence or the advice he should have got.

“Usually I see the players as my children. It was the first time I felt I had really let a player down. We let the club down, we let football down probably as well because we acted in the wrong way.

“The only excuse I can find, if there is an excuse, is that none of us had ever faced anything like this before and we just didn’t know how to handle it, from the owners down.

“You should have seen the reaction of the owners towards all this. They were more than onside with Luis and wanting to be on Luis’ side.

“Even at board level where you think these people are removed from the situation and can help, they were caught as emotionally in the storm as much as we were. It was all wrong.”

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