The FA has today charged Liverpool’s Luis Suarez following an incident that occurred during the Liverpool versus Manchester United fixture at Anfield on 15 October 2011. It is alleged that Suarez used abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Manchester United’s Patrice Evra contrary to FA rules. It is further alleged that this included a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Patrice Evra.
The FA will issue no further comment at this time.
And shortly after, the response from Liverpool:
The Club this afternoon received notification from the Football Association of their decision to charge Luis Suarez and will take time to properly review the documentation which has been sent to us. We will discuss the matter fully with him when he returns from international duty, but he will plead not guilty to the charge and we expect him to request a personal hearing.
Luis remains determined to clear his name of the allegation made against him by Patrice Evra. The Club remain fully supportive of Luis in this matter.
That's some sort of bad news ahead of a crucial time for the club, but, given the lack of clarity about what it was that actually happened, or will happen, not a really clear set of guidelines for what's going on. It's not a verdict of guilt, and "charge" only really means they're continuing the investigation, but with Suarez himself acknowledging use of terms or phrases that are not exactly immune to criticism, even with the defense of cultural idiosyncrasies, disciplinary action was always a possible outcome. It's entirely possible that the recently-rumored usage of "negrito" is the basis for the charge, but again, the purposeful ambiguity of the statement isn't giving us anything concrete.
What exactly this means for Suarez is perfectly uncertain, so for now I guess we just hold on for the wonderfully confusing ride the FA will take the player on for an indefinite period of time. And despite the ambiguity of the press release from the FA, and the seemingly vehement defense from Liverpool, it's not going to be easy for Suarez over the next while. If it's ultimately proven that he did engage in racial abuse or overt racism, then he's deserving of whatever punishment the FA doles out regardless of Liverpool's defense. Even if it goes unproven and he's cleared of all charges (and if that actually carries any weight coming from the FA), I'm doubtful that this is a matter we're done hearing about.