Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Luis Suarez, racism and Liverpool FC's reputation

Liverpool Football Club has made a huge PR gaffe in their handling of the Luis Suarez racism charge.

The FA has not charged Mr Suarez with being racist but for providing unreliable evidence and for 'damaging the image of English football around the world'.

The Kopites have obviously challenged it so vigorously as they believe it is one man's word against another and feel they are victims of an overly harsh ban issued with no concrete evidence. A clash of cultures, they say.

Here lies the problem. This defence, led by their manager Kenny Dalglish, is so preoccupied with the defence of the player's reputation that they've allowed the club's to suffer.

With a global following unparalleled by very few clubs in the world, Liverpool FC has a duty of care to uphold the highest standards in the game and act as ambassadors for the sport. They have won many awards for their work - including racism.

By attacking the FA for attempting to uphold the 'Kick It Out' campaign, they are in effect undermining efforts to stamp out racism.

What they should have done straight away, is held their hands up and issued an apology to the FA, to Patrice Evra and to their fans. They could have then explained the offence wasn't intentional but a clash of cultures. 

Perhaps Suarez could have met with Evra to launch a new programme to help foreign players coming to England understand the culture and here and educate them. This would have shown a level of contriteness by the club and the player and could have led to the ban being reduced.

Instead, they have ended up sounding very much like disciples of David Brent, stumbling around racism so tactlessly that they give the very impression they were trying to avoid.

The club should have received better PR advice. Put the club before the man and be contrite. Then you can salvage the player's reputation and turn the situation around.

No comments:

Post a Comment