Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Taylor: No link in Suarez cases

Luis Suarez faces the prospect of missing the last four games of this campaign and the first six of next season

Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor insists the 10-match ban handed out to Luis Suarez does not indicate biting is more serious than racial abuse.

Suarez was suspended for eight games last season when an independent disciplinary panel found the Liverpool striker guilty of abusing Patrice Evra at Anfield in October 2011. The fact Suarez received a greater sanction for sinking his teeth into Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic on Sunday has raised an eyebrow in some quarters.

However, Taylor does not feel the two cases are linked, and he said: "I don't think there is a suggestion the FA think biting is more serious than racial abuse."

He added: "I think if there was any more racist abuse the tariff would increase. It is not easy to get justice right. (Suarez) got seven (for biting in Holland), eight (for Evra) and now 10. There has been a divided opinion. For some people it is not enough, others think it is too much.

"I take the view if there are points being made on both sides the balance is probably right. I actually feel there was needed to be more encouragement for the player to improve his behaviour and maybe the ban could have been longer, say 12 matches, with some of it suspended."

Liverpool will consider the written reasons behind the verdict before deciding whether to appeal against a punishment that, as it stands, rules Suarez out of action until the back end of September.

Taylor is unconvinced by the Reds' present annoyance at the severity of the punishment. However, he is in a tricky position as well given Suarez is one of six contenders to win the PFA Footballer of the Year prize on Sunday and is strongly fancied to be included in the Team of the Year.

"The vote was made by the players and the first criteria is footballing ability," said Taylor. "This was not normal behaviour.

"Luis Suarez is a great footballer. The job for everybody, not just Liverpool but the PFA, Premier League and FA is to make sure, along the way, we see the right pattern of behaviour.

"Sometimes bad behaviour is excused by intensity. But as so many top players have shown, that doesn't have to be the case. If you have bad discipline and you get disciplined for it, that just leads to more frustration. It doesn't help anyone."

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