Suarez Charged with Racism

Luis Suarez has been charged by the FA for an incident involving Manchester United’s Patrice Evra on 15 October.  The FA released a statement charging the Uruguayan with alleged “abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Patrice Evra.”  The statement went on to say that Suarez allegedly used “a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race” of Evra.

Since the accusations began immediately after the 1-1 draw between Manchester United and Liverpool, Suarez has categorically denied any wrongdoing. His club have offered their full support throughout the affair, and are said to be surprised at the FA’s decision to charge him. Suarez is currently expected to plead not guilty, though he did admit to calling Evra a name which his Manchester United team-mates apparently call him on a regular basis.

The exchange between the two premiership players during the match is understood to have been partly in English and partly in Spanish – causing an added complication. The FA are looking into the different meanings associated with certain words by different languages and nationalities.

These charges come at a time when racism in football is under the spotlight due to FIFA’s president Sepp Blatter’s ill-advised comments on the subject. Blatter denied that racism was a problem in football and said that although racial remarks are sometimes made on the pitch, enmities are forgotten after the game when players shake hands. Belittling the problem of racism in this manner has drawn widespread criticism from the footballing community. Among others, PFA chief Gordon Taylor has called for Blatter’s resignation.

Whatever the result of the charge, the investigation will be paid extra attention by the media. If he is found guilty Suarez risks being made an example by the FA. In this high-profile case, there is the chance that the FA will take the opportunity to show their strong stance on the issue of racism.