Luis Suarez’s eight-match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra could be increased if he appeals.
Liverpool are almost certain to appeal against the 24-year-old striker’s ban but will wait until they see the full written judgement before doing so.
The Football Association have confirmed the ban can be increased, reduced or cancelled altogether by an appeal board.
The ruling has continued to divide football with Liverpool branding it “extraordinary”, while Gustavo Poyet said he backs his fellow Uruguayan “to the death”.
But players’ chief Gordon Taylor said the ruling sent an important message out about racism, while Professional Footballers‘ Association chairman Clarke Carlisle said cultural differences were no excuse.
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 Manchester United’s French defender 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 accusing 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 vowed to continue to support Suarez.
Tabarez said: “He has our full support and solidarity because seen from a distance this seems like an excessive punishment.”
Taylor, chief executive of the PFA, said the sanction was an important message especially after the outcry at FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s remarks – later retracted – that racism on the pitch should be settled by a handshake.
Taylor said: “This was an independent commission experienced in law and football and they must have had compelling evidence, and it sends out a very strong message to the rest of the world.
“I understand the point about cultural differences but if you come to this country all players have to abide by not just the laws of the game but the laws of the land as well.
“Referring to someone’s skin colour has got to be offensive – it’s self-evident. No one can say the FA have ducked this issue and bearing in mind outcry in this country over Sepp Blatter’s remarks it sends out an important message.
“This is a timely reminder that the FA, the PFA and the clubs to continue education programmes particularly for players coming from abroad that it is never right to make reference to a person’s skin colour or nationality.”
Preston defender Carlisle added that “no form of discriminatory abuse should be acceptable”.
The incident happened during the Liverpool v Manchester United match on October 15.
Liverpool have suggested there was a witch-hunt against Suarez and insist they believe their player is innocent.