Editorials, News — February 10, 2012 21:43

The Asian Kop on Luis Suarez & The FA’s Response

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With Luis Suarez to make his anticipated return against Manchester United, The Asian Kop thought it would give it’s thought and response to what has clearly been a difficult time off the pitch contrasting with the euphoria on it, particularly the last two results.

Firstly, and most importantly, we are completely behind and support Kick It Out who do much to educate and kick out those who use discrimination against others no matter whether it’s based on their race, gender, disability or sexual orientation. Anyone should participate in football without any prejudice.

Many of The Asian Kop team have had racist abuse hurled at them in everyday life,  so we are acutely aware of what the affects of racism are on an individual.

Frankly, the idea of what goes on the pitch stays on the pitch is a statement which we don’t subscribe to. It’s an archaic view. If you use a racist term then you are responsible for what you say.

The same responsibility must go for accusing someone of racism too. The struggle and culture change in making racism unacceptable has been a long battle. For it to be undermined by unjust accusations or even unsubstantiated ones do the cause no favours.

So where do we feel the Suarez- Evra situation sits? Probably somewhere in between.

Punishment based on probabilities

It seems to us that the punishment dished out has been based on probabilities happening from one person saying something similar or not to someone else who passed it on to someone else who then it got it reported to the referee.

So what of the referee’s responsibility? The representative of the FA on the pitch when faced with a player who has made claims he was racially abused simply says ‘Calm down, Patrice, the game has been brilliant, stop the pushing between you and Suarez, the game is going well.” The same referee who throws away written notes after writing up his match report, something that could contain crucial evidence as the whole case relied on the interpretation of one particular phrase.

But what also seems just as shocking is the lack of reaction from Evra’s teammates. When Evra tells his captain, Giggs, of what has been said his advice is not to get sent off. The PFA are trying to launch a programme to educate players not born in Britain about British culture. What of the British players because that reaction is pretty shocking?

But of course we are all assuming Suarez used racist language. There has to be some responsibility on the player for use of that word, especially where it has such a charged meaning for us here. Culturally specific arguments aside if you hear the word on the pitch it’s not surprising Evra reacted the way that he did. However, you would expect the regulators of the game to be consistent and have a water tight inquiry but the findings prove otherwise.

Evra saw video evidence. Suarez didn’t. Evra’s claim of racial abuse varies and changes depending on who gave evidence (including himself). Suarez was deemed to be inconsistent. Evra claimed he was abused a certain amount of times, the FA disagreed and set the number based on evidence which was at best heresay, at worst subjective body language dissemination.

Suarez used racial abuse in an aggressive manner seven times, no one heard it apart from Evra. This is where inconsistency comes in.

Inconsistencies and Inconsistencies

In 2007 when Newcastle midfielder Emre Belozoglu was accused of making racist remarks to both Joleon Lescott and Joseph Yobo, it was reported. There was no video evidence to suggest he said it but Yobo and Lescott reacted so strongly at the time. Emre was not found guilty. We’re not into conspiracy theories but it makes you think whether the FA could have another high profile case go unproven. Silly we know but sillier still that a player gets banned for 8 games for being found ‘guilty’ for racist abuse but a player who misses (and who’s not found guilty) a drugs test gets 8 months. Where is the consistency?

The label of ‘racist’ will now be hurled at Luis as seen in the Fulham game, nothing could be further from the truth, even Evra admits that. The club’s response has been controversial but they have to fight their corner feeling that the player, the club and the fans have been unfairly treated.

Speaking of the fans, there have been two recent incidents inside Anfield which the club could really do without. It’s too easy to jump to conclusions, particularly in the PFA’s case. Let’s allow the authorities deal with it and the appropriate punishment delivered. Let’s not however label a whole fan base for the alleged actions of a few.

Evra being booed during the FA Cup tie wasn’t because he was black. He was being booed because in some people’s opinion he lied. That’s not racist and it won’t stop players from coming forward in the future. The two don’t marry up. Anyone who suggests that is being incredibly simplistic and controversial for the sake of it.

That’s not to say there everything is all hunky dory. There is still a long way to go to really root out the problem and it’s not just football’s problem. There are more immediate issues that need dealing with. How about black managers and their representation in the higher echelons of the game? Or how about seeing more Asian players? There are probably more Asian fans going to football matches and Liverpool has a proud and massive Asian fan base. But why aren’t we seeing a better representation of players both in the lower leagues and working their way up? Could it be that racism is holding them back?

A Liverpool legend spoke about racism and said that racism isn’t just football’s problem…but society’s, well said John Barnes.

Let’s Kick It Out. Full Stop.

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