Racism storm

PFA chief blasts Suarez defence

December 23, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

The head of the Professional Footballers Association, Gordon Taylor, has given a scathing review of Luis Suarez's "cultural differences" defence against his racism charge.

Luis Suarez
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Suarez is likely to appeal the eight-match ban and £40,000 fine he received for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra. Taylor, though, suggested it was time for Suarez to accept the Football Association's verdict, and hit out at the claim that the terms used by the striker toward Evra would be deemed acceptable in Suarez's homeland in South America.

"A lot has been made about different cultures and what is deemed to be racist abuse there," Taylor told the Telegraph. "But the point is, if it isn't wrong to make reference to somebody's skin colour [in another country] in this way, it should be.

"When it comes to banter between players, I think it is pretty clear that to make reference to somebody's nationality, or the colour of their skin, is wrong regardless of where the player has come from in the world.

"I've travelled the world a lot and this defence that it is okay to make reference to the colour of somebody's skin in South America in a jovial manner, well I've not heard that before. In the past we've been told that spitting [at someone] is common in South America and I've not seen that either.

"Maybe our standards are so high because we have such a multicultural society and such a multicultural game, but that is only right. That does not mean our standards are too politically correct or anything like that."

Taylor also insists it should be the prerogative of every club to ensure foreign players are aware of the customs in their country of work. The PFA chief says his organisation advocates such education of foreign players through various anti-racism campaigns.

"I think it is up to the clubs to ensure new players are aware of what is right and wrong and they do. This isn't something that happens normally and foreign players have been coming here in large numbers for the last two decades and that includes players from South America.

"If I was to work abroad, in the Middle East or Asia, it would be up to my employer and myself to make me aware of what is deemed acceptable behaviour in that culture and what is not. It's about respecting the country and the culture where you work. I don't see why that is any different here.

"We have high-profile campaigns in this country supported by the PFA, Kick it Out, Show Racism the Red Card and Football Unites, Racism Divides which make it quite clear to every player what sort of language is acceptable and what is abusive. These campaigns are highly visible at every club in the country.

"Every club has a player liaison officer to welcome players from abroad and look after them and it should be up to them to make it clear what is acceptable and is not," Taylor said.