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John Barnes blasts Luis Suarez "witch hunt"

Barnes blasts Suarez
© PA Photos
Former Liverpool midfielder John Barnes blasts the treatment of Luis Suarez.

Former Liverpool midfielder John Barnes has described the treatment of Luis Suarez as a "witch hunt".

The Reds striker has been given an eight-match ban and a £40,000 fine by the Football Association for making racist remarks towards Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during a match in October.

"From a cultural point of view, [Suarez] has been backed by people from Uruguay saying the word he used is not deemed as a racist term," Barnes told BBC Radio Merseyside.

"As much as we will say that ignorance is no excuse, ignorance is an excuse.

"Twenty years ago in England, the same people in England now condemning him were ignorant as to what racism is. Why don't they condemn themselves?"

Barnes also questioned where to draw the line when it comes to abuse in football.

"When Manchester United play Liverpool and 10,000 United fans are saying 'you Scouse thieves', I'd like them all to be banned," he added.

"And Liverpool fans too, when they say 'you Manc or whatever'. So where are we going to draw the line? Racism has to be zero tolerance but this is now a witch hunt."

Suarez has two weeks to appeal the FA's decision.

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Sunday's key events


SURFING
· Wave conditions permitting, surfing will make its Olympic debut (11pm-8.20am)

SKATEBOARDING
· Another debutant sport at this Olympics, most eyes will be on American Nyjah Huston in the men's street contest as he looks to add Olympic gold to his four world titles and 12 X-Games golds. (12.30am-5am)

TAEKWONDO
· History beckons for Jade Jones as she looks to become a three-time Olympic champion - something never done before in the sport prior to these Games (2am-1.45pm)
· Team GB's Bradly Sinden - world champion two years ago - is also going for gold in the men's -68kg category (2am-1.45pm)

GYMNASTICS
· Already-legendary gymnast Simone Biles makes her first appearance of the Games in the women's qualifying event (2am-2pm)

SWIMMING
· The first swimming medals of the Games will be dished out, with home favourite Daiya Seto going for gold in the men's 400m individual medley (2.30am-4.20am)

CYCLING
· Lizzie Deignan is among the Team GB team looking for success in the women's road race (5am-9.30am)

TENNIS
· Reigning two-time Olympic champion Andy Murray starts his title defence against Canadian hotshot Felix Auger-Aliassime (7am approx.)

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