Suarez apology for handshake snub

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Patrice Evra grabbed Luis Suarez after the snub

Luis Suarez has issued an apology after he controversially refused to shake Patrice Evra’s hand before Liverpool’s defeat at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The Uruguayan striker ignored Evra’s handshake offer before the 2-1 loss for Liverpool at Manchester United. It was Suarez’s first start since he was banned for eight matches after a panel found that he racially abused Evra during the sides’ last league meeting in October.

After a new barrage of severe criticism descended on the player and LFC, 24 hours after the incident Suarez apologised for the handshake snub, saying he spoke with Reds boss Kenny Dalglish after the game: “I’ve not only let him down, but also the club and what it stands for and I’m sorry.”

His manager also apologised for his own behaviour during a TV interview after the match in which he robustly defended Suarez: “When I went on TV after yesterday’s game I hadn’t seen what had happened, but I did not conduct myself in a way befitting of a Liverpool Manager during that interview and I’d like to apologise for that,” he said.

Dalglish admitted he had been “shocked” to learn of the actions by Suarez, who had told the club earlier in the week that he was intending to shake hands.

Liverpool Chief Executive Ian Ayre also made a statement in which he criticised the actions of Suarez: “He was wrong to mislead us and wrong not to offer his hand to Patrice Evra.

“He has not only let himself down, but also Kenny Dalglish, his team-mates and the club. It has been made absolutely clear to Luis Suarez that his behaviour was not acceptable.”

The three statements were issued on Sunday afternoon amid widespread condemnation of Suarez and Liverpool, in both national and international media, after the events of the previous day.

The striker’s refusal to shake Evra’s hand made headlines in the US, where the story was a page lead in the Boston Herald – the local paper of Reds’ owner John Henry. It was also carried in the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Dalglish supported Suarez © Trinity Mirror

Former Liverpool defender Alan Hansen told BBC’s Match of the Day that Suarez’s actions had been “unacceptable”. He said: “To snub Patrice Evra was, in my view, totally unacceptable. The football club and the manager have given him total and unequivocal support through thick and thin. He has let Kenny Dalglish down, the club down and himself down.”

After he had seen his side beat Liverpool 2-1, United boss Sir Alex Ferguson condemned Suarez as “a disgrace to Liverpool Football Club” and said he should never play for Liverpool again.

Last December, Suarez was banned for eight games and fined £40,000 after an FA appointed independent panel found that he had racially abused Evra during the sides’ league game at Anfield in October. Liverpool continued to protest his innocence despite massive criticism.

In his statement, Suarez said he hoped he could now put the affair behind him and focus on his football: “I have spoken with the Manager since the game at Old Trafford and I realise I got things wrong. I’ve not only let him down, but also the Club and what it stands for and I’m sorry. I made a mistake and I regret what happened.

“I should have shaken Patrice Evra’s hand before the game and I want to apologise for my actions. I would like to put this whole issue behind me and concentrate on playing football.”

United released a statement which read: “Manchester United thanks Liverpool for the apologies issued following Saturday’s game. Everyone at Old Trafford wants to move on from this. The history of our two great clubs is one of success and rivalry unparalleled in British football. That should be the focus in the future of all those who love the clubs.”


About Hugh O'Connell, Senior Editor