Gustavo Poyet has branded the eight-match ban handed out to Luis Suarez as “incredible” and says he backs his fellow Uruguayan “to the death”.
The Liverpool striker has been banned for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.
Poyet, manager of Brighton, said Suarez had suffered from cultural differences between England and Uruguay – and that in the South American country people were referred to as ’blacks’ in an affectionate way.
He also attacked Evra, saying the French player was “no saint”.
Poyet told Ultimas Noticias newspaper in Uruguay: “The ban is incredible, shocking, it’s disproportionate. I back Luis to death.
“Things have happened before with Evra. He is not a saint. He is a controversial player.
“I don’t know in which world we are going to live in from now on people. People will accuse each other of anything.
“Suarez just arrived [in the Premier League] and there are things that he has to learn when you are in another country because they might be normal in your country but perhaps they are not considered that way in other parts of the world.
“I have tried to explain that we live with coloured people in Uruguay. We share different experiences with them. We play football, we share parties. We are born, we grow up and we die with them. We call them ’blacks’ in a natural way, even in an affectionate way. That is the way we were brought up. We are integrated and there are no problems from either side.
“I’ve explained how the Uruguay people and the South Americans experience these situations with coloured people. I’ve been many years in England and I understand them. I know how to deal with it, but Luis has only recently arrived here.”
Uruguay’s national director of sports, Ernesto Irurueta, called the ban “exaggerated, absurd and out of place.”
Uruguay’s head coach Oscar Tabarez said he would continue to support Suarez.
Tabarez said: “He has out full support and solidarity because seen from a distance this seems like an excessive punishment.”