Found December 21, 2011 on The 90th Minute Soccer Blog:
Afrcia-suarez

England FA Sends Right Message By Giving Eight Match To Suarez - The 90th Minute Soccer Blog

The decision from the English FA to ban Liverpool’s Luis Suarez is a strong message. Suarez was accused of racial slurs against Manchester United’s Patrice Evra and the FA reacted strong manner. The official punishment from the FA is below.

The Independent Regulatory Commission announced its decision on 20 December 2011, which is as follows:

  1. Mr Suarez used insulting words towards Mr Evra during the match contrary to FA Rule E3(1);
  2. the insulting words used by Mr Suarez included a reference to Mr Evra’s colour within the meaning of Rule E3(2);
  3. 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;
  4. the [penalty] is suspended pending the outcome of any appeal lodged by Mr Suarez against this decision.

It’s a harsh punishment but a necessary one to show that racism and racist slurs from players, supporters, or anyone else at a match is unacceptable.

First, racism in football (soccer) is still a problem and not something that has gone away. While the number of incidents seems to have consistently decreased, it’s still happened in virtually every FIFA region. To combat the issue, FIFA and other organizations have backed initiatives such as FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) and Say No To Racism.

While things to appear to be heading in the right direction, the comments of FIFA President Sepp Blatter in November 2011 show that there’s still some work to do. Part of his controversial comments (in an interview with CNN) are below.

“There is no racism [on the field], but maybe there is a word or gesture that is not correct. The one affected by this should say this is a game and shake hands.”

“I would like to make it very clear, I am committed to the fight against racism and any type of discrimination in football and in society.”

“I have been personally leading this battle against racism in football, which Fifa has been fighting through campaigns such as Say No to Racism.”

“My comments have been misunderstood. What I wanted to express is that, as football players, during a match, you have battles with your opponents and sometimes things are done which are wrong.

“But, normally, at the end of the match, you apologise to your opponent if you had a confrontation during the match, you shake hands, and when the game is over, it is over.”

(on whether racism is problem in the sport) “I would deny it. There is no racism.”

“There is maybe one of the players towards another – he has a word or a gesture which is not the correct one.

“But the one who is affected by that, he should say: ‘This is a game. We are in a game, and at the end of the game, we shake hands.’ And this can happen, because we have worked so hard against racism and discrimination.”

So, getting back to the issue at hand, the move by the FA sends the right message. They are stating that racism on the pitch will NOT be tolerated. Players like Luis Suarez, who violate these rules, will be punished severely by missing multiple fixtures. This decision by the FA won’t solve racism overnight but it shows that the problem is being taken very seriously.

Suarez will likely appeal the decision and his punishment could be shortened but the message is clear. I don’t expect this to prevent any future problems between players but it should limit the number of occurrences in the future.

For once, the English FA appears to have gotten it right.

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England FA Sends Right Message By Giving Eight Match To Suarez - The 90th Minute Soccer Blog

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