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Pressure from sponsors helped force Suarez and Dalglish apologies

Mon 13th Feb 2012 | Football Sponsorship

Liverpool faced pressure from both their US owners and shirt sponsor after the furore at Old Trafford which led to both Luis Suarez and Kenny Dalglish making formal apologies for the conduct during the Premier League match on Saturday. 

Striker Suarez released a statement on the club's website after he was criticised for not shaking opponent Patrice Evra's hand before his team's 2-1 defeat, while manager Dalglish did the same following a heated post-match reaction during which he was challenged over the snub.

Suarez was returning to the Liverpool starting line-up for the first time since serving an eight-match ban for racially abusing Evra during the reverse fixture in October.

Standard Chartered, a bank which pays around £20million a season to sponsor the 18-time English champions, went public with its criticism in a brief statement.

It said: 'We were very disappointed by Saturday's incident and have discussed our concerns with the club,' while a person familiar with the matter added: 'It was a very robust conversation.'

A spokesman for Liverpool declined to comment on the reports that pressure had been brought to bear.    It said: 'We were very disappointed by Saturday's incident and have discussed our concerns with the club,' while a person familiar with the matter added: 'It was a very robust conversation.'

The Football Association, who imposed the original eight-match ban, will take no action over Suarez's refusal to shake hands because it is not a disciplinary issue.

Meanwhile, the government will host a summit in the next few weeks to discuss the issue of racism in football after two high-profile stories this season.    

Chelsea captain John Terry will go on trial in July accused of racially abusing opponent Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League match in October.    

Terry, who denies wrongdoing, has been stripped of the England captaincy for the Euro 2012 tournament and manager Fabio Capello quit as a result.

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