FIFA to implement tougher punishments for racism
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez insists his "conscience is clear" following last season's incident with Patrice Evra where he was found guilty of racially abusing the Manchester United defender.
Suarez, 25, served an eight-match suspension after an FA hearing ruled he called Evra "negro" during the 1-1 draw between with United at Anfield in October 2011.
But an unapologetic Suarez suggested to ESPN that United's influence over the media was a reason why he was punished.
"Everybody has a different way of dealing with it," he told ESPN. "My conscience is clear after talking it all through. Manchester United hold a lot of sway over the press here and they're always going to use it in their favour."
Suarez, who scored a hat-trick in Liverpool's 4-0 win over Wigan on Saturday to become the Premier League's top scorer, blamed Evra for confronting him and insulting him about his nationality.
"Leaving aside that I had an argument with a person, he thought he could speak Spanish but he doesn't," Suarez added. "And when someone comes up to you and calls you names about being South American, you aren't just going to burst out weeping, are you? It's part of football."
Suarez admitted to diving in October's 0-0 draw against Stoke at Anfield and has said he is sometimes surprised by his actions. He was condemned for the dive by Tony Pulis and David Moyes and insists his reputation for controversy has counted against him.
"Sometimes you have reactions on the field, then you go 'what the heck did I do?' I was criticised when I fell over in a match against Stoke," he said. "To be honest with you, I did 'dive' on purpose. We were drawing, I was anxious to do something. But having the Stoke and Everton managers coming out like that! I realised Suarez sells."
But he insisted his contentious goal against Mansfield in the FA Cup followed an accidental, not a deliberate, handball, explaining: "The other day, a ball hit my hand and I scored. I didn't do it on purpose."
The Uruguayan believes some of his problems in England have been caused by cultural difficulties.
"When you're foreign and especially South American you are treated differently but at the end of the day, it is a different culture, a different lifestyle," Suarez said. "However, we're here to play football, which is what we know and always wanted to do. We just cannot stop and listen to nonsense after all the effort we've put into getting here."
Suarez, who said this week that he wants to stay at Liverpool, again pledged his loyalty to the club.
He said: "It's an amazing club, the team and the support you get from fans is just incredible. I don't regret coming over here at all and they are treating me really well."
Suarez's comments come just after FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb announced he will be meeting with players involved in racism incidents to discuss possible punishments.
"I will be meeting with the FA... and I would also like to have a round-table discussion to talk to the players and get their input, get some suggestions from them and learn from their experiences," Webb told reporters.
"Obviously there are a number of players who have been victimised, plus we would like to hear both sides really. We have been talking for a long time but we have not been protecting the players. It's a travesty that it has come to this.
"I don't think financial instruments are enough. Fines are not working. It's time to put proper things in place ... It's like in society, we know that if we break the law there will be consequences. Racism is unacceptable. The football family has to take a look in the mirror."