x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Gordon Taylor believes FA need to get involved over Suarez and Evra row

The PFA chief executive critical of Liverpool's handling of the racism affair.

The bad feeling between Luis Suarez, left, and Patrice Evra has intensified.
The bad feeling between Luis Suarez, left, and Patrice Evra has intensified.

Gordon Taylor, the Professional Footballers' Association [PFA] chief executive, said he felt sick to his stomach when Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra failed to shake hands before the game between Manchester United and Liverpool game - and he believes such is the serious nature of the incident that the Football Association must now get involved once again.

Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, branded Suarez a "disgrace to Liverpool Football Club" and claimed he should never play for them again following his apparent refusal to shake Evra's hand ahead of the Premier League clash at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The Red Devils captain appeared to offer his hand to the Uruguay international, who was banned for eight matches for racially abusing the defender, but he bypassed the Frenchman and went straight to goalkeeper David de Gea.

Evra did not accept that and attempted to grab Suarez's arm to complete the formalities, but the striker shrugged him off.

Taylor told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I thought today might have been a time to draw a line under it and move on.

"Having heard before the game there was going to be handshakes, [and then] that it was so deliberately averted, I just felt quite sick in my stomach.

"I'm extremely concerned that its reached this level now. It's going to have to be sorted by the FA, the Premier League, the PFA, the League Managers' Association ... because there's great rivalry which is no bad thing between clubs and cities, but this has escalated beyond that.

"Racism is an issue within a civilised society that if it's allowed to run riot divides people and separates them.

"Football is a sport that's supposed to bring people together and overcome such barriers.

"We have had a great record of assimilating players from all over the world, from different cultures and creeds, for a long time now."

Taylor also believes the situation could have been contained had Liverpool been more proactive early on, when the PFA first approached them after the original incident.

Asked if Liverpool had been responsive to their the PFA's approaches Taylor said: "I would have to say that in the very beginning, no they weren't, so as a result this has developed into where it has.

"It's my job to try to stop such issues escalating.

"At the very beginning I approached both clubs but it wasn't possible to get that reconciliation or any acceptance of culpability or apology and from that time on it's just escalated."

Taylor said the timing of the incident was particularly unhelpful

He told Sky Sports News: "The situation is running away with us and this isn't healthy for football, particularly with the Government looking into the governance of football.

"I would have expected the Liverpool owners and directors to bring about a better atmosphere and draw a line under it.

"There is nothing to be gained by the matter festering, for the image of the game.

"If the handshake was offered by Patrice Evra I thought he (Suarez) would shake it but then he diverted it away. It was anything but helpful and caused this genuine reaction. It has undermined Kenny (Dalglish) as well."

The two sets of players reportedly clashed in the tunnel at half-time and again on the pitch as United celebrated their 2-1 victory.

United defender Rio Ferdinand, who refused to shake Suarez's hand after witnessing the snub for Evra, later claimed to have "lost all respect" for the Liverpool frontman.

Taylor added: "They're all my members and you can understand Rio having some solidarity with a colleague who was the victim in this, not the culprit."