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Suarez in the dock today


LIVERPOOL STRIKER Luis Suarez is set to appear in front of an FA disciplinary panel today to offer his account of the row with Patrice Evra, which led to him being charged with issuing racist abuse.

The hearing, which is being held at a north west hotel, is in its second day. Both players are expected to offer testimony to explain the sequence of events that lead to the Frenchman making a formal complaint to referee Andre Mariner in the 1-1 draw at Anfield on October 15.

Suarez, who was charged on November 23, has admitted using the term “negro” once, although this is disputed by Evra who claims he was racially abused at least ten times.

It is believed that the 24-year-old’s defence will centre on the argument that in his homeland Uruguay, and across much of South America, the term is a descriptive expression and not offensive.

The former Ajax star gave his account to the Uruguayan media last month, stating: “There is no evidence I said anything racist to him. I said nothing of the sort. There were two parts of the discussion - one in Spanish, one in English. I did not insult him. It was just a way of expressing myself. I called him something his team-mates at Manchester call him, and even they were surprised by his reaction.”

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish will also be present to give a character reference for Suarez and a verdict is expected either this evening or tomorrow.

As there are a lack of precedents for the case - Newcastle player Emre Belozoglu was cleared of racially abusing Everton’s Joseph Yobo and Joelon Lescott in February 2007 - it is not known what sort of punishment the striker will face if found guilty, although a lengthy ban is expected.

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