Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Taylor eager to act as peacemaker

Gordon Taylor

Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor is ready to act as a mediator in the Luis Suarez-Patrice Evra race row.

The Football Association are investigating a complaint from Manchester United defender Evra, who accused Liverpool striker Suarez of racially abusing him during Saturday's Barclays Premier League game at Anfield. Suarez on Sunday said he was "upset" by Evra's allegation, which he has categorically denied.

Speaking at the Professional Players Federation (PPF) annual conference on Monday, Taylor said he would be prepared to mediate between the players if necessary and he told Press Association Sport: "It's something we've done in the past and it's something I hope we'll be asked to do in the future."

He added: "We need to try to cool down and reflect on what happened and to contact the FA and see what form their inquiry will take. It's good to get this put behind us as quickly as possible instead of letting these things fester and become blown up again.

"It's very disappointing to have two of our players from different countries at odds over a very serious issue. Only by having a full inquiry on such matters can we get to the bottom of it and try to make sure that such problems don't arise again in the future."

PPF chairman Brendon Batson, a campaigner for greater black and ethnic minority representation in the game, told Press Association Sport: "Obviously, something has gone on to the extent that Evra made a complaint, and I know that Suarez has denied making any comment.

"For the good of the game, and for the reputation of the players involved and the clubs involved, we need to get to the bottom of it."

Evra made an accusation of racism three years ago against a member Chelsea's ground staff, a claim that was ultimately dismissed. Batson was confident the authorities treated every allegation "seriously".

He added: "It's on the evidence that's available. I know the referee didn't hear it but he included it is his report because of the complaint from Evra.

"Whatever investigation is going to be done has to be thorough and very transparent as well."