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Suarez Apologises For Shunning Handshake

Tuesday 14th February 2012
The Uruguayan forward was returning to the starting line-up for the first time since his eight-match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra in October's meeting at Anfield. It was the first time the pair had crossed paths since the incident and it didn't take long for things to boil over.





First Suarez ducked Evra's outstretched hand, only for the Frenchman to grab the striker's arm in retaliation. Rio Ferdinand then weighed in on the action by refusing Suarez's hand as the tension threatened to over-shadow the game before it had started.

Predictably - following a bit of petulance from Suarez on the half-time whistle, kicking the ball into the crowd – tensions boiled over into the tunnel during the break. Police and club staff had to hold back players as Evra tried to confront the man who refused his handshake, meaning it was five minutes before players got into their changing rooms.

Following the game, Suarez was put under intense scrutiny from all  the footballing world, leading to an apology on Sunday from the South-American talisman, in a statement issued by Liverpool FC.

It stated, “I have spoken with the manager since the game at Old Trafford and I realise I got things wrong.” Before adding, “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."

Suarez's Liverpool boss Kenny Daglish, who has publicly backed his man throughout this ordeal, also came under much criticism for his comments to Sky Sports News reporter, Geoff Shreeves, after the game.

The Scotsman also issued an apology with his £24million forward, for his reaction and conduct following his sides' 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford. The former number seven seemed to suggest that Suarez had in fact shaken hands with Evra and that his man should not be blamed for anything that happened.

However, on Sunday he stated, “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.”



Dalglish then went on to say his current number seven was right to apologise and he was shocked to hear that Suarez had in fact ducked the handshake, after informing the club that he wouldn't earlier in the week.

The controversy was not overlooked by anyone at Liverpool, with Managing Director Ian Ayre also issuing a statement condemning the actions of Suarez.

“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.”

Manchester United followed up the Merseyside club's statements with one of their own, stating, “Manchester United thanks Liverpool for the apologies issued following Saturday's game. 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 club."



United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson had unleashed a scathing attack on Suarez after the game, however, stating “he should never play for the club again”, something which was wrong according to ex-Liverpool manager Kevin Keegan, who was also left bemused by the conduct of Evra after the final whistle.

“To come out and say a player shouldn't play for another club is wrong.” He said of Ferguson's comments, before posing the question of Evra's full time celebrations. “Why would he want to do that? You've won the game; sometimes as a manager you just don't understand players."

The game left a sour taste in the mouth of football overall and there have been many calls for Suarez and Evra to get together and put their differences aside, whilst it has also been suggested that pre-game handshakes should be scrapped.

PFA Chairman Clark Carlisle sees the latter as a stupid move, but agrees that the two players need to sort this out once and for all. “Moving forward, we need to get Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez together and try and have some kind of mediation."

Both clubs have outlined their wish to move on from the incident and hope that their reputation as two of English football's biggest clubs has not been irreparably tarnished.

 

 
Jamie Hellier

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