By Arun Nair – (@Nair_39)
Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre today provided an update on the consequences of Luis Suarez’ bite on Branislav Ivanovic in yesterday’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Anfield. Here are his comments in full:
Ian, everyone is still talking about Sunday’s incident with Luis Suarez. What is the latest on the situation?
I think the most important thing is that we acted swiftly yesterday. Luis issued his apology and then we spoke with him last night and then again this morning. We’ve taken action to fine Luis for his actions. Brendan has spoken to him and I’ve spoken to him, and Brendan will be working with him further on his discipline. You can see when you speak to him how sorry he is about it and he’s certainly shown quite a lot of contrition to us – and as part of that, he’s also asked we donate the fine to the Hillsborough Family Support Group. I think he felt like he let a lot of people down yesterday. We’ll work with Luis – Brendan particularly – on this side of his character in his game. Hopefully that puts the matter to rest from our point of view and we’ll wait and see if there’s any further action from the football authorities.
Have you had any contact with the owners regarding this situation?
Yes, of course. With any incident like this, any major incident at the club, we’re in direct dialogue with the owners, always. I spoke to them last night and they were happy with the way we were handling the matter.
Will the events of the last 24 hours have any bearing on Luis’s future at Liverpool Football Club?
Not at all. It affects his future in the sense that we have to work with him on his discipline – but Luis is a very important player to the club. He’s a very popular player with his teammates. As we keep saying, he signed a new four-year contract last summer and we’d all love to see him here throughout that contract. He’s a fantastic player, top scorer and everything we’d want in a striker, so there’s no change there. This is more about getting him back on the right track and it’s largely down to Brendan now to work with him on that side of his character.
Suarez himself wrote on his official Twitter page:
“For my unacceptable behaviour the club has fined me. I have asked the club to donate the money to the Hillsborough Family Support Group for the inconvenience I have created to the Liverpool fans and to Ivanovic.”
Meanwhile, police became involved after members of the public made complaints to the Merseyside Police.
The North West force then contacted their counterparts in Surrey, who visited Ivanovic on Sunday evening – however, the Chelsea defender does not wish to press charges.
Merseyside Police said in a statement: “Following an incident at the Liverpool v Chelsea game yesterday officers have spoken to Branislav Ivanovic in person.
“He had no apparent physical injuries and did not wish to make a complaint.”
PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor said the players’ union would offer the striker help to deal with his temper:
“There is no doubting his football ability, that’s why it is so disappointing and embarrassing when he lets himself down,” he said.
“We have to work hard on anger management now. We have trained counsellors in this field and we will be offering their services to Liverpool and the player to try to improve matters.”
Suarez is also one of the six candidates for the PFA Player of the Year award to be announced on Sunday, and Taylor confirmed that the latest controversy would not affect his position on the shortlist:
“It’s decided on votes and it is a football matter but of course it is embarrassing that it should happen.”
Suarez now awaits the verdict of the Football Association, who are to review the incident and the match official’s report before taking further action, but is likely to face a lengthy ban.
NOTE: Article on Luis Suarez, the bite incident, and the wider issues around him: Coming soon, watch this space.