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Where now for Luis Suarez and Liverpool?

Liverpool FC,, Luis Suarez,

With the shock of the severity of the FA’s punishment handed down to Luis Suarez still being digested, we decide to take a look at how far Luis can take his appeal. I say Luis because it is down to Suarez to appeal against the ban and fine and not Liverpool Football Club – although last night’s demonstration of solidarity by the players and staff of the club left no doubt that Liverpool FC and its fans are fully behind the Uruguayan.

To cut to the chase, Luis can take his appeal all the way up to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), but that is a long way off yet. First of all, the first appeal needs to be logged by Suarez 14 days after the full written judgement is published, which according to most sources has still not been received.

There have been conflicting statements from Liverpool Football Club, which is saying it is waiting to see the judgement to decide if it will appeal, and Suarez’ solicitor who says he will appeal. I would at this moment in time listen to Suarez’ solicitor because, as I stated earlier, it’s for Luis to appeal and not LFC.

If Luis chooses to appeal, he will try to say that it is not a just ban. It is unlikely that the decision made by the Independent Regulatory Commission (IRC) will be completely overturned, as Suarez has admitted to using the word negrito.

He will argue that there was a cultural misunderstanding and mitigating circumstances to get the ban reduced. If Luis is not happy with the reduced sentence he can then appeal to UEFA and if he is still not happy then he gets to appeal to the CAS. As you can see, this could take months and you can be sure Liverpool and Luis have looked into all possibilities. If he was to accept the ban now with Carling Cup, FA Cup and the Christmas programme games coming up thick and fast, he could be back playing in early February.

If he goes down the UEFA and CAS route the hearings may not finish before the end of the season, meaning the ban would commence next season. In my opinion I feel the IRC haven’t really taken into account Luis’ culture.

Before I go on I must state my partner is black and I have two mixed-race daughters and I hate racism and I do think the eight-game ban and £40,000 fine is fair, but I think in this case half the ban and fine should be suspended. This would have given the IRC room to say: ‘we believe racism in football needs to be stamped out, but as the premiership is multicultural we need to take into account people’s cultural backgrounds, therefore we have put half the punishment on hold’. This warns the player that any subsequent misdemeanours will result in the remainder of the ban and fine kicking in and added to any new ban and fine.

As a fan, I feel the best way forward for the club and Luis is to take the appeal all the way to the CAS. That way we can reinforce in the January transfer window, Luis gets to play the majority of the season and we re-group next season once Suarez comes back from his ban.

Photo James Mason


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