Questions that won't be answered

A COUPLE of weeks ago I started something I’d loosely titled “An open letter to Piara Powar, Lord Ouseley and the rest of them.” In the first paragraph it asked: “Are you all the same you anti-discrimination campaigners?”

I didn’t finish it; it was one of those pieces that have no end in sight because there’s so much to say. And this is no shorter, so apologies if you don’t like reading anything too lengthy.

It followed on from comments by Piara Powar, the latest in a number, that had themselves followed on from comments Lord Ouseley and a number of other anti-discrimination campaigners. It was shortly after the incident at Anfield involving Tom Adeyemi.

None of the more prominent anti-discrimination campaigners, along with the members of the press so eager to give them a platform to spout from, seemed to grasp exactly what was at the heart of Liverpool’s stance on the Luis Suárez incident. Those who have spoken out about it and defended the club or the player have been branded as racist and that has been fuelled in a large part by the comments made by Ouseley, Powar and a number of other anti-discrimination campaigners.

What they are all unable – or unwilling – to grasp is that people who were defending Suárez were not condoning racism.

And what the ones doing it are also unwilling to grasp is that by inferring Liverpool and its fans are all racist they are as discriminatory as any of the people they claim to be protecting others from. All anti-discrimination campaigners aren’t the same – but football seems to be blessed with some of the worst.

When the Suárez case first came to light the first reaction was as to be expected from both sets of supporters. There was no proof – so, football being football, supporters stood by their own man until such a time as proof to the contrary was shown. Some would probably stand by him even then, but most decent fans of both sides would at least be open to the possibility that their man could be in the wrong – or that it was all a big misunderstanding. What most people wanted was definitive proof, hopefully in their man’s favour, but proof either way. That way there would be no real arguing to be done and if your man was in the wrong you could see it and react accordingly. Most Liverpool fans I heard comment on that possibility made it clear that they’d want him out if he’d done what Evra had said he’d done.

Neutrals, meanwhile, were either genuinely dismayed at the possibility it had happened or were rubbing their hands together in private at the chance of something to gossip about or write headlines about. If Suárez had done what Evra had accused him of it was dynamite for the headline writers and it would give the writers of what sites underneath the headlines story after story for the foreseeable future.  Those stories would be lapped up by those who care about having something to gossip about far more than they care about the truth.

And of course, whichever “side” “lost” the battle, plenty of those on the “winning” side would be glad to spread that gossip too. It’s what people do. Some people.

So now, with very little indeed to go on, everyone interested in the story decided what they thought about it. It might not be there final decision but it was the one they went with to start with. Had Suárez done what Evra said he’d done?

What had Evra actually said? Well…

Evra had accused Suárez of calling him a “ni****” ten times. He’d told French TV, and through that the world, that the Uruguayan had done something that – if true – no amount of explaining could play down.

Suárez had denied it, saying instead (later) that he’d used a word once, a word that isn’t racist in his own country and that Evra’s own team mates use the same word to him. His club stood behind him and made it clear that they didn’t think he was guilty of the accusations made against him.

The two versions of events are complete polar opposites.

But those two versions of events were all that anyone outside of the process had to go on. Any comments made before New Year’s Eve and the release of the “written reasons” were based on those two completely opposite versions of events. The only other “evidence” the general public had to go on was whatever was leaked to the press, and that had to be taken with a huge pinch of salt because it wasn’t always clear where it had come from and how biased the original storyteller might be.

It turned out that Evra’s story had inconsistencies in it from the beginning. Although we weren’t to find this out until later, the version of events reported by the referee in the ‘Extraordinary Incident Report Form’ was different to what Evra had told Canal+, in that there is only a reference to Suárez making a comment once, not multiple times: “Luis Suárez is alleged to have said to Patrice Evra ‘I don’t talk to you because you ni****s’.”

Neither Ferguson nor Evra made mention of the alleged insult being used more than once, according to their witness statements.

Ferguson’s statement said that “as he was speaking to David De Gea, Mr Evra approached him. He said ‘Boss, Suarez called me a ni****.’” Ferguson’s statement also said: “[Ferguson] told Mr Marriner that they had a complaint to make. [Ferguson] told him ‘Evra has been called a ni**** by one of the Liverpool players.’ [Ferguson] then motioned for Mr Evra to tell the referee what had been said.”

According to Evra’s statement, although this may have been paraphrased by the panel in its written reasons, “[Evra] said that he told the referee that Mr Suarez had called him a ni****.”  Again according to the panel’s description of Evra’s statement: “According to Mr Evra, the referee said to him ‘Oh, that is why you were talking about being called black’, referring back to what Mr Evra had said to the referee on the pitch. Mr Evra said ‘Yes.’”

Also, according to the panel’s retelling of the witness statement from referee Marriner, the referee only mentions the accusation being of one instance: “Mr Evra, speaking in English, then told Mr Marriner that during a coming together in the penalty area in the second half of the match, Mr Suarez said to Mr Evra, ‘I don’t talk to you because you ni****s’.”

None of this was out in the public domain, but according to Evra, Ferguson and Marriner there was no mention of the alleged insult being used more than once.

Evra said “ten times” to French TV. Also, according to the LFC member of staff who stands outside the dressing rooms on match days in case anyone needs anything, Ferguson alleged it happened “five times”. That was what the LFC member of staff, Ray Haughan, said he heard Ferguson say. Haughan said he was outside in the corridor when he heard Ferguson say this inside the referee’s dressing room. The referee’s door was then closed and Haughan went to warn LFC officials about the allegation he’d heard Ferguson make.

In the public domain Suárez had been accused of calling Evra a “ni****” ten times.

Behind the scenes but in an area where his comments would potentially be audible to many different people Ferguson had alleged Suárez had called Evra a “ni****” five times.

Behind the closed door of the referee’s room Ferguson and Evra had together alleged Suárez had called Evra a “ni****” once.

Between them, Ferguson and Evra had accused Suárez of saying “ni****” ten times, five times or once. The panel eventually settled on “probably seven”, as if it was some kind of negotiation.

In fact the panel didn’t settle on seven – they settled on none. At some point after that the day of the alleged incident Evra changed his mind about the actual word that was used. Now it wasn’t “ni****” or “ni****s” it was the Spanish word for black, said in Spanish, i.e. “negro”.

Nobody has said when it was that Evra changed his mind about what he’d heard.

None of this changing of mind on the word used was in the public domain either. The only two accounts in the public domain were Evra’s allegations of “ni****” ten times and Suárez’s claim of “a word his own team mates use for him” once.

What the campaigners fail to see is that these differences are massive.  The closest they come to seeing it is to pipe up with “zero tolerance”, an attitude in itself that flies in the face of their own anti-discrimination policies. Their attitude is that if it’s a bad word in this country, in the language of this country, then it shouldn’t be said in this country, in any language. They’ve got a point, sort of, but they’re so keen to prove it that they actually miss the whole point of what the debate was about.

Suárez was on public trial for saying “ni****” ten times. He didn’t even say that word once – and all parties involved accept this. But nobody from The FA or Manchester United ever sought to clarify this on the record in public prior to the hearing. Would it have hurt anyone for Evra to issue a statement to clarify that the word used wasn’t the one he’d told everybody else it was?

The answer is yes. It might have hurt Evra’s case. It might have hurt The FA’s case. Liverpool were criticised for defending Suárez yet nobody at The FA or Manchester United was criticised for keeping quiet about Evra’s allegations to French TV being false and exaggerated.

Is it any wonder that Liverpool were defensive?

To those who just wanted to get to the truth of the situation, if it was possible to do so, the failure to clarify in some way that the original allegations to French TV had been false and exaggerated is alarming.

If, after having some time to calm down and think about it, Evra realised that what Suárez said wasn’t what he thought he said, why not admit it more openly? What was there to hide?

In some ways it is understandable – but not necessarily acceptable – for Manchester United and their player not to clarify the situation. A statement to the effect that he’d got it wrong but was still going ahead with his complaint would have shown honesty – but could also have made them look foolish. “Manchester United would like to clarify that Patrice Evra’s allegations, made to Canal+, about Luis Suárez, were inaccurate. Mr Evra now understands that Mr Suárez did not use the word that Mr Evra told Canal+ had been used. Mr Evra also wishes to clarify that the word that was used was not used ten times and that prior to Mr Evra speaking to Canal+ both Mr Evra and Mr Ferguson reported to the referee that the word originally alleged was used on one occasion. However Mr Evra still feels that the word used once was offensive and wishes to continue with his complaint.”

It’s not understandable at all, unless the FA had some other agenda in mind, for the FA to allow the allegations to stand despite knowing them to be untrue. They knew what Evra had said to the press and they knew it was false. Yet they said nothing at all about it. Then again, it was The FA who charged Suárez and the FA that decided on five times as the number of occasions the word was used. This figure was arrived at, it seems, during interviews the FA held with Evra in which he was shown video footage of the game.

The FA, whether deliberately or negligently, chose to withhold tapes of their interviews with Evra. It was only by accident, during some other conversations during the hearing, that their existence was made known to the panel and – more importantly – to Liverpool. By the time Liverpool got access to those tapes it had already been made clear by the panel and by The FA that this hearing had to proceed as quickly as possible.

After being charged Suárez’s representative had asked for more time to prepare his reply to the charge and also to supply all documents and witness statements he intended to use in any defence of the charge. The FA refused to grant Suárez the extension he had asked for. He wanted until Thursday 8th, the FA insisted on Monday the 5th. The reason the FA were unwilling to allow those three extra days was because of “the importance of concluding the hearing of the Charge as soon as reasonably practicable in the interests of Mr Suarez, Mr Evra and others involved.” They said there may be a need for The FA to “respond to the documents submitted” by Suárez and that an extension to the Thursday would leave them little time to do so “if a hearing was to take place in the week commencing 12 December.”

They wanted the hearing to take place that week because “it was clearly desirable” they said, “otherwise, with Christmas and New Year intervening, the hearing would be unlikely to be concluded until January 2012.”

The panel actually overruled this and allowed Suárez until the Wednesday, the 7th. They did this by balancing the need for Suárez to have time to prepare his response to such a serious charge with the need to avoid the case hanging over the heads of all involved into the New Year: “The Chairman recognised that a serious charge had been brought against Mr Suarez and that he should have adequate time in which to prepare to meet the Charge with the assistance of his chosen legal representative. It was also important that this matter should not be left hanging over the parties any longer than necessary, and that the hearing should be concluded in December if reasonably and fairly practicable.”

When the existence of previously secret tapes was made known on day one of the hearing perhaps Suárez’s representative should have called foul and demanded the case be put on hold until they’d had more time to listen to them and to learn of anything in the contents that might help their case. Instead Suárez’s representative, “whilst understandably critical of the omission of the tapes” agreed to continue with the hearing. This decision allowed the hearing to continue without any more delay but he was given no credit for doing so. The panel didn’t think to criticise The FA, or question the credibility of The FA, for holding the tapes back.

The club made mistakes in how it handled the situation in that it showed inexperience in dealing with the FA.  The representative the club used to handle the case for Suárez made mistakes too, it would seem. The FA had already shown their attitude is to get rules and regulations to meet their best needs rather than to set appropriate examples. For example, they appealed a decision that saw an international player they wanted to make use of suspended for three games. Under their own rules the suspension would be as lengthy and they would only make it shorter by overruling it completely – in reality a similar appeal to The FA would be more likely to result in an extra one-game ban being tagged on the end.

The FA have also fallen foul of trying to stand up to the governing body above them in football’s mod-style hierarchy. They stood up to FIFA and got slapped back down again. Liverpool got the same treatment for daring to question the problems with The FA’s system. That system has been criticised increasingly but The FA refuse to acknowledge that it is long overdue an overhaul.

By the time it was produced the 115-page report seemed more concerned with refuting Liverpool’s angry statements and comments that were made as the process crawled along than it did with showing how it had got to the truth. In fact it hadn’t got to the truth, it had picked one of the two sides of the story for reasons that seem flimsy at best and had used that version to base its decisions on.

Looking back now it’s easy to say that Liverpool should have kept their opinions to themselves until after the written reasons had been released. Their anger was justified, but should have been kept in-house until after the written reasons had been released. At that point they could have questioned the inconsistencies that litter the report and the report wouldn’t have been largely written as a response to LFC’s public criticisms of the process.

At that point they could have asked how some details had been leaked to the press even before the charge was issued.

For example, Suárez was charged on November 16th (co-incidentally the day Blatter made his “handshake” comment). It was only then that he received the evidence that The FA would rely on in order to state their case. Included in that evidence was the statement from Hernandez, and that statement is the only one that – from what the written reasons have told us – makes reference to the word “negrito”.

Neither Evra nor Suárez said the word used was “negrito”. Neither manager mentioned it, the referee didn’t. The word isn’t used at all in the 115 pages of the report aside from where it is referring to a statement from that one Manchester United player, Hernandez. “A Mexican footballer, Omar Esparza, is widely known in Mexico as ‘el Negrito’. Hernandez, the Manchester United player, has been a close friend of Omar Esparza for many years and refers to him as ‘el Negrito’ in an affectionate way. Hernandez admitted that terms such as ‘Negrito’ can be used with close friends and in certain situations without it being offensive.” (It isn’t exactly clear why the panel mention it at all, but perhaps it relates to the secret paragraph 8 from the Hernandez statement that was referred to but not revealed in the report.)

So the only mention of “negrito” in the 115 pages of that report comes from a Manchester United player. Suárez was given the witness statements from Hernandez and others on November 16th. On November 13th, days before the charges were issued and the witness statements passed to Liverpool, Daniel Taylor of The Guardian seemed to know about “negrito”. He wrote:

“Top-level sources at Old Trafford say the offending word was uttered in Spanish and allegedly was a derivative of ‘negro’, with Evra stating that it was used ‘at least 10 times’.

He goes on to write:

“’Negrito’, for example, could have shocking connotations for someone without full knowledge of the nuances of the language. But the counter-argument is that this is one of several derivations that are used in many countries, with no derogatory meaning – often in the same way someone could be called ‘pal’ or ‘mate’.”

It seems, in all probability, that the word “negrito” was brought into the public discussion of the case after someone at Old Trafford, or someone connected to Old Trafford, tipped some reporters off about it.

None of the evidence presented in the 115 pages of that report suggests Liverpool, or Suárez, even mentioned that variation of the word. Yet that was the word used in numerous arguments about how right or wrong Liverpool were to defend their player.

In fact when the decision was announced, but before the reasons for it were published, it was being used by people to back up their arguments about why the decision – for which they’d not heard the reasons – must have been spot on. For example:

On BBC News, Piara Powar of Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) says “as I understand it the case [against Suárez] centred around the use of the word “Negrito”, which for Luis Suárez is apparently acceptable but for many of us in the UK racialising an interaction amongst players is not the right thing – it’s wrong, it is racially offensive”.

Without knowing the reasons for the decision – and if he thought the word used was “negrito” it would seem likely that he’d not had any kind of tip-off about the reasons – he condemned the player. Perhaps he’d been looking forward to doing that so much that he forgot to keep his own opinions and prejudices in check.

Powar wasn’t the only anti-discrimination “name” to act like this. He was one of the worst though.

Before long he’d forgotten, conveniently, that Liverpool supporters were steadfast behind their player before any written reasons had been released, before even the decision was made to charge him. All along that support was based on trust in their club’s manager and trust that he’d do the right thing had Suárez done the wrong thing.

Not many people have that level of trust from the vast majority of Liverpool supporters. Kenny isn’t infallible but he commands respect, respect he’s earned and never demanded.

At the same time The FA, UEFA and FIFA demand “respect” from participants in the game. They don’t earn it; they threaten punishments for not showing it. They bully the participants into submission and wonder why there is still dissent. The same attitude shown over whether or not a referee got a decision wrong came to the fore in this decision about Suárez. “We are right, don’t you dare question us.”

How can any respect be shown to The FA when they, along with Manchester United and Evra, kept quiet for two-and-a-half months without owning up that they knew Evra’s “more than ten times” and “ni****” accusations were untrue?

For two and a half months we were waiting for something to show us who was telling the truth. Had Evra been called a “nigger” ten times, or had he been called, as Suárez had claimed, “a word his teammates call him” once? It was obvious that the truth could lie somewhere in between, that the disagreement over what was actually said could be down to a misunderstanding or translation issue as much as it could be down to a bare-faced lie.

We supported him for two-and-a-half months because we know that Kenny Dalglish would not have risked his own reputation by backing anyone he knew was racist. We knew the club’s owners would rather see Liverpool’s transfer budget take a hit than be seen to be backing a proven racist. We knew the club’s commercial department would see the potential damage that could be caused by continuing to market an out and out racist as some kind of hero.

We also knew that – even if it turned out our club wasn’t as scrupulous as it looks to our loyal eyes – having to play so many games under this cloud was punishment in itself and that accepting a ban early on would have lessened the slow torture Suárez was under during that two-and-a-half month period. As those who didn’t believe Suárez’s version even before seeing any evidence said – if he’d apologised straight away it would have been much better for him (presumably that applies even if he honestly doesn’t know he’s done wrong).

If we’d found Liverpool’s anger was based on a technicality they thought would get Suárez off we’d have been as indignant as anyone else about it, believe me.

If we’d found Liverpool’s anger was completely misplaced because of overwhelming proof that Suárez was in the wrong we’d have been on our club’s back ourselves, far quicker than any of those trying to make a name for themselves were.

Instead we read 115 pages that tried too hard to prove Suárez wrong. 115 pages that were largely ignored by the reporters who got to see them at the same time as most of us, at tea-time on New Year’s Eve. At least one report for a national newspaper was filed less than an hour after the reasons were released – and I’ve had it on good authority from a long, long, list of national journalists that the reasons weren’t released any earlier to the press under embargo. They got them when we got them. So how anyone could write anything meaningful on their contents in under an hour is beyond me.

They had to get something out, fast, so they skipped straight to page 111, point 452 of 453, where the judgement is summed up with little reference as to the assumptions that had gone into it.

Maybe if the likes of Powar and Ouseley had read all 115 pages, more than once, before making so many ill-advised comments about Liverpool FC, its staff and – the bit that upsets us the most – its supporters, maybe there’d be a reason to show some respect.

How helpful have Powar’s and Ouseley’s words and actions been in helping deal with racism and discrimination in sport? How much time did they spend looking at the obvious flaws in the whole process, flaws that must be addressed as a matter of urgency before the next time an accusation like this is made?

The regulations are wide open to abuse.

But this seems to be of little concern to men like Powar, men who are more interested in sending out a message than in dealing with any real problem.

For example, Mr Powar, speaking to the FA:

“I think the FA should come back now and be very clear that Liverpool could be construed to have brought the game into disrepute by the way in which they have consistently undermined the judgement and by Kenny Dalglish’s comments.”

The FA haven’t done this. Why? Believe it or not we’d like them to, because by doing so it would allow Liverpool to explain their reasons for being so unhappy about the report. The lack of action from The FA, in comparison to what they normally consider grounds for misconduct, suggests a can of worms might then be opened.

But the club can defend itself; this is more about defending the supporters. Defending them from the treatment dished out by the likes of Powar.  “Liverpool have been too keen to support their man and in doing so have whipped up a sense of paranoia amongst their fans.”

Are you suggesting that Liverpool supporters are too blind to make up their own minds on issues of importance? Are we all the same, us Liverpool fans? Stupid ignorant Scousers, is that how you see us?

Are we all a bit thick, Neanderthals waiting to be pointed in the direction of the next thing to complain about. Mates with Boris Johnson by any chance, Mr Powar?

And on he goes, looking down his nose at us:

“For the club to so aggressively militate against what looks to most people is a considered judgement from the FA leads to a potential for anarchy.”

Nice use of the phrase “most people” Mr Powar. So “most people” see it as a “considered judgement”, but that nasty Scouse underclass aren’t as clever as “most people” are they? No, they blindly and dumbly follow what their club tells them to do and anarchy is now on the way.

Your claim your colleagues agree too, so maybe you are all the same, you anti-discrimination people:

“I have emails from colleagues in Africa asking me what the hell is going on. I think people will be watching this and I believe there is no question that their plans for global expansion will have been damaged by this.”

I have correspondence from fellow supporters – and not just Liverpool supporters – who fully understand why we remain supportive of Luis Suárez. I also have correspondence from Liverpool supporters who don’t agree. In fact, funnily enough, I have quite a mix. It’s like we’re all individuals or something. Who’d have thought that then?

It’s not like we’ve a fanbase made up of people from all around the world as well as all around the country is it? I’ve no idea what kind of ratio our supporters made up of in terms of any of the categories referred to in The FA’s rule, E3(2), which makes the punishment of an offence under E3(1) stronger if an “aggravating factor” is present, namely a reference to “ethnic origin, colour, race, nationality, faith, gender, sexual orientation or disability.”

What I do know is that there is quite a mix when it comes to each of those categories and that up until recently I’ve never really had to give it any thought.

But it’s that mix of people that people like Powar are talking down to when they come out with stuff like this. Powar, on Twitter, said: “The obvious thing for LFC today must be to come out as a club – owner, manager, captain – and start to undo some of the damage, including addressing their fans. Go onto the LFC website and there is not a single expression of regret about what happened last night.”

And worse of all, making ridiculous assumptions about the backgrounds and views of all Liverpool supporters based on the alleged actions of one supporter: “Are LFC fans going to do this at every game, support the mistakes made by their own man by abusing others? 25% of PL players are black.”

What percentage of The Kop isn’t white? What percentage allegedly hurled racist abuse at one of the Premier League’s non-white players?

Powar went on: “That’s a lot of players to abuse. Top clubs have unprecedented influence and power over millions of people. They should exercise that power responsibly, if they don’t it’s time for the authorities to step in. Those scenes last night, it was clear, this is not just an issue for football but our society as a whole.”

Good grief Powar, do you realise how offensive your comments are? Have you any idea?

He added: “The LFC brand is being tarnished, but so is British football. Where are football’s leaders on this issue today?”

Does he not see the way he tarnishes the reputation of Kick It Out, for whom he was the spokesman for a number of years, and FARE, the organisation we know little about but which he is now head of?

Allegations – two separate sets of allegations – were made against Chelsea fans travelling home from their game against Norwich at the weekend. Not a word, so far as we’ve seen, from Powar. Why’s that?

Meanwhile Lord Ouseley’s been to see Sepp Blatter. He was saying stuff like this a few weeks back: “Liverpool have failed [Suárez]. Because they have not told Suárez what the club’s expectations are; that they have a zero policy towards racism. If he is ignorant of what is required of him, Liverpool should be asking: how come we have got a contract with the player?

“Liverpool have been particularly hypocritical.

“You can’t on the one hand wear a Kick It Out T-shirt in a week of campaigning against racism when this is also happening on the pitch: it’s the height of hypocrisy. Liverpool players wore a T-shirt saying: ‘We support Luis Suárez’, seemingly whatever the outcome. This was a dreadful knee-jerk reaction because it stirs things up.

“And, then, this was followed, after the verdict, with a kind of stance that says: ‘Hey, we support anti-racism and Kick It Out. But we’re not sorry. All we are really saying is that we blame someone else, not us.’”

Liverpool weren’t sorry because Liverpool wouldn’t have defended their player in the first place if they thought there was something to be sorry about. How hard is it for such a well-versed observer to see this? Especially when that well-versed observer said himself at the outset of the Suárez case that there should be proof beyond reasonable doubt?

Now that he’s seen Blatter it’s all different. Talking about John Terry, who is involved in a case that can’t really be talked about much, Ouseley said: “There is every reason for players and indeed fans to show civility and respect toward each other and focus on the football. I have nothing against that.

“A handshake now is part of the reconciliation and honesty that needs to take place. There is nothing wrong for someone making a mistake to apologise for it, hold their hands up and then face the consequences and move on.”

It’s difficult to work out who exactly he thinks made the mistake and best not discussed given the fact the case is yet to be heard. All the more reason to wonder why he’s doing so now.

He maybe should have a word with Powar: “It is not about retribution and continued hostility, it is about reconciliation, otherwise the next generation will not understand the need for harmony in sport, which mirrors society. It is about how to take the heat out of the situation of the two clubs meeting again, and problems with fans’ behaviour as a result of what happened between the players previously.”

Is he still talking about Chelsea?

He goes back to that word “respect” again: “There has been a lot of nastiness surfacing in the last few months that should have no part in football. The fans have to respect each other, and they won’t if the players fail to respect each other. There is passion and emotion in sport, and so it should be, but you also have to respect the individual.

“A handshake before the game will not deflect from what went on before and how it will be dealt with.”

So, Lord Ouseley, how about a word with Mr Powar? Is it time he showed some respect to Liverpool supporters and apologised for his comments? Or is that too much to ask? Did his wife ever explain those comments about the BNP and Glasgow Rangers?

Have either of you read that report, in full, to see what went into the pages that made up the summary?

I don’t expect any answers. We might as well talk to Blatter, or someone else in a lofty position that fails to listen to what’s really making people angry.

In the meantime maybe it’s time to look for a new organisation to fight discrimination in football. One that isn’t quite so discriminatory as those running the existing ones.


  • dave00

    Really excellent stuff there Jim, as your title says though sadly the questions you pose will not be answered. The only thing i think that will be a step forward is Powar and Ouseley are removed from any position of influence pertaining to the sport of football. The FA also needs to be completely disbanded and rebuilt with decent people from scratch, hopefully this DCMS committee will take strong measures against the FA at the end of February when they are due to report on the governance of football within the UK.

  • Bill

    Well written article and I to agree totally with your comments. But nothing will change whist we have dinosaurs like Blatter and Ferguson running the game and self appointed guardians of our morals who come with baggage and well chipped shoulders who haven’t the brains to read beyond the headline written by totally untrustworthy journalists looking for a scoop but failing to investigate beyond the end of their Pinocchio like noses.

    I just hope that EUAFA or Fifa decide to do an inquiry and as you stated we can then show Ferguson, Evra and the Ferguson Association up for for the fraudsters they really are.


    Very well written piece Jim. The truth is out there. Unfortunately the truth in this case clashed with the agendas of various bodies with vested interests in the case. So instead of a fair trial we got a witch-hunt. I believe the F.A. have irrepairably damaged themselves in the eyes of many Liverpool fans, myself included.

  • kevin Roche

    Let’s hope we learned some very valuable lessons from this. We must not be so naive in future dealings with the FA, media etc. We need to tool up in the PR dept also, we have many enemies out there who don’t want to see us back challanging again, City have sewn up one of the top 4 places for years to come, the last thing they want is LFC hoging another one. Know your enemies, respect them, but never forget that they are there.

  • Jim, I stayed up on the night the report was issued in order to read every word and inform myself of the detailed reasons for the hefty ban. I also read it because the truncated versions on the news that night were quite damming of Luis Suarez. I regard myself as reasonably fair minded and objective about most things, and I tried really hard to put aside my LFC bias. However, when I read the findings in full I found the stench of ‘stitch up’ overpowering. The panel concluded that Suarez was ‘unreliable’ and ‘inconsistent’. What could be more inconsistent than Evra shouting “he called me f***ing black” on the pitch and saying that he called me “n****r” inside the referee’s room?. Evra was not just inconsistent, he LIED. What could be more inconsistent than 5 times , 7 times or 10 times. Take your effing pick.
    No evidence was put forward to suggest that Suarez swore at Evra and yet the latter admitted to threatening Luis with physical violence ( twice ) and using foul language at least twice. Yet Evra emerges smelling of roses.
    You are absolutely correct in implying that the most vociferous critics of Suarez/LFC have not read the report but have based their criticism on reading the ( biased ) main conclusions.
    One final point; a player stamps on the head of an opponent and gets a 3 match ban, or 4 match ban if its a second red, whereas a player using an unacceptable word, in albeit a foreign language, gets an 8 match ban. Somebody explain that to me.

  • Alan

    Well written peace. How I wish only one of the FA employees would see it!

  • juan

    Excellent piece Jim.

    The fact that Suarez could be banned for 8 games without definitive proof of what he was charged with was alarming. The inconsistencies you portray in the case against Suarez are even more alarming. In the end it had all the makings of a witch hunt.

    Furthermore the way in which the anti racism groups wanted to see Suarez branded a racist and punished without pausing for a moment and contemplating whether they could be tarnishing the name of an innocent man was inconceivable.

    The anti racism groups played their part in brewing up the storm of hatred against LFC and its fans that culminated in the vitriolic abuse dished out by the Oldham fans. You didnt hear anyone from the anti racism group condemn Oldhams “town full of racists chants”. They fueled the hysteria but kept silent when someone needed to condemn it.

  • Joe

    I think in the summer when the season is over & especially if we miss out of champions league by a narrow margin the club should employ the best lawyers & PR people & have a second look at this outrage. This stain will last with LfC for years if they don’t do something about it. I think if your PR person & even legal team are themselves black, & preferably female then it would be much harder of the gutter press “Holt” & even poorer broadsheets to write their crap. Either way, like Kevin said above we need to wise up in this department – we are seriously lacking someone like yourself Jim sitting on the Sunday supplement panel. This is where titles are won. The influence of these shits on the modern game is enormous, & Sir Muck up the road has them all whipped into shape, replacing one bias git Gray with Mr Man utd Neville has to be his masterpiece.

  • Dave Boyd

    Great article.
    However, Suarez’s career will always have a nasty stench attached to it because LFC failed to appeal.
    It would have been best to keep the situation going (however difficult), so LFC could build up a case that the media and fans would have to consider rather than to let the whole world think he is unquestionably guilty.
    He will never get another opportunity to clear his name.
    I think he’ll leave as soon as he can.

  • Joe

    It’s not just Suarez, players come & go the whole time, it’s the club’s reputation that matters most. Having stood our ground initially, it was vital to take it the whole way, instead we started apologising, & apologising, for what, and again after todays’ success when UTD have been stuffed the whole talk is yet again about racism because that’s what our enemies want to concentrate on.

  • sidney

    Piara Powar Busted for RACIST ABUSE!

    Total hypocrite, ironically he used a racially abusive term against someone who questioned why he didn’t accuse manU and all its supporters of being racist after one of their fans were arrested during the stoke game. He also had no comment at all about Terry being stripped of the England captaincy.

    Lets get the media to pick up on this. This charlatan should not be funded by the FA and other organizations. He’s linked to supporter groups of many rival teams of liverpool.

    And this coming from a Spurs fan.