• Premier League

PFA chief 'sickened' by Suarez snub

ESPNsoccernet staff
February 12, 2012

Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor says he feels "sick in my stomach" after Luis Suarez caused further controversy by refusing to shake the hand of Patrice Evra on Saturday.

Suarez's actions led to a negative atmosphere throughout the Manchester United versus Liverpool Premier League clash, which saw altercations in the tunnel both at half-time and after the match.

Taylor also revealed his disappointment that Liverpool shunned his attempts to mediate in the row shortly after the original Evra-Suarez incident, saying the Merseyside club refused "any acceptance of culpability".

Taylor told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I thought it 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.''

Asked if Liverpool had been responsive to the PFA's approaches to help bring the matter to a close, 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.

"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.''

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