The FA: Suarez banned for 8 games and fined £40,000
THE FA tonight announced that the charge of misconduct against Luis Suarez was found proven and that he will be suspended for eight matches and fined £40,000. Suarez has the right to appeal, and will get 14 days to do so from the date the panel issue the written reasons for their decision. The suspension and fine are suspended until either an appeal is lost or the player decides not to exercise that right to appeal.
The alleged incident took place on 15 October during the Liverpool v Manchester United match at Anfield with the news first broken by French TV that evening after Patrice Evra complained to a reporter for Canal+. After a period of speculation and a certain amount of leaking of information the player was eventually charged on 16 November. Another month passed before the hearing began, on 14 December, and that hearing lasted for six days, culminating in tonight’s appointment.
The panel will issue the written reasons for their decision “in due course”, whatever that actually means. Until then the player is available for selection by Liverpool but, essentially, is guilty until proven otherwise. Liverpool have already played ten competitive fixtures from allegation to announcement and will play their eleventh tomorrow.
The FA’s announcement:
An Independent Regulatory Commission has today [Tuesday 20 December 2011] found a charge of misconduct against Luis Suarez proven, and have issued a suspension for a period of eight matches as well as fining him £40,000, pending appeal.
On 16 November 2011, The Football Association charged Luis Suarez with misconduct contrary to FA Rule E3 in relation to the Liverpool FC versus Manchester United FC fixture on 15 October 2011.
A hearing took place from 14-20 December 2011 before an Independent Regulatory Commission of The FA to consider the charge.
The Independent Regulatory Commission announced its decision on 20 December 2011, which is as follows:
Mr Suarez used insulting words towards Mr Evra during the match contrary to FA Rule E3(1);
the insulting words used by Mr Suarez included a reference to Mr Evra’s colour within the meaning of Rule E3(2);
Mr Suarez shall be warned as to his future conduct, be suspended for eight matches covering all first team competitive matches and fined the sum of £40,000;
the [penalty] is suspended pending the outcome of any appeal lodged by Mr Suarez against this decision.
The Independent Regulatory Commission will provide written reasons for its decision in due course setting out:
(a) the findings of fact made by it;
(b) the reasons for its decision finding the charge proved; and
(c) the reasons for the penalty.
Mr Suarez has the right to appeal the decision of the Independent Regulatory Commission to an Appeal Board. An appeal must be lodged within 14 days of the date of the written reasons for the decision.
The penalty is suspended until after the outcome of any appeal, or the time for appealing expires, or should Mr Suarez decide not to appeal. The reason for this is to ensure that the penalty does not take effect before any appeal so that Mr Suarez has an effective right of appeal.
Liverpool are yet to make a comment on the news but in the absence of those written reasons it seems unlikely that any announcement would be more than an acknowledgement. Liverpool believed Suarez was innocent and it seems unlikely they would decide against making an appeal.