Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez has reignited controversy arising from accusations of racism against Manchester United left back Patrice Evra, stating he felt the FA gave him a harsh sentence without proper evidence.
The 25 year old Liverpool striker was handed an eight match ban, along with a £40,000 fine after an independent FA disciplinary commission found him guilty of racially abusing the Red Devils' player during a league game in October. Liverpool did not appeal the ban but the club never felt Suarez was guilty of the charge, although they did ask him not to appeal the decision.
Suarez transferred to Anfield from Ajax for a club record of £22.8mn.
"The suspension, I suppose, you could call strange and unbelievable. There was not a single convincing proof that I had done any of the things they accused me of doing," Suarez told Russia Today, according to ESPN.
"I accepted it without saying anything, obviously because they could have made [the suspension] longer and it would have just made the whole thing continue, but my conscience is completely calm, and so is that of the club and my family. Everyone knows that in Uruguay there is a huge black population," the Guardian quoted Suarez as saying.
"I had team-mates and friends of both colours all the time in the national team, in Liverpool, in Holland, where the majority are from Surinam, and I never had any problem with them. Holland is one of the countries in the world where there is the highest number of black players and at no point was there an issue," the Telegraph quoted Suarez as saying.
The player added to the problems after refusing to shake hands with Evra during another game in February and also said he felt was given the ban because he plays for Liverpool.
"It seems to me they had to get rid of a Liverpool player and, well, they definitely were gratified by all of this. What the English press has said about me does not interest me,'' he said, according to a United Kingdom Press Association (UKPA) report., adding he only cared about support from his club, family and friends.
"What interests me is what they say about me in Uruguay and in Liverpool, and they have always been very supportive," Suarez was reported by the Daily Mail as saying.
Suarez finished the season as his club's top league scorer, with 11 strikes and added he continued to play positively despite taunts and insults.
"After the suspension I was told the fans would taunt me, they would whistle me, insult me and shout at me, but to be honest it is not something I was worried about. Everyone whistled me in all of the stadiums I played in all the time anyway, even before the allegation of racism. I tried to pay it as little attention as possible to focus on what I like to do, which is to play," said Suarez, according to a Goal.com report.