Liverpool sponsor unhappy with club

Updated: February 13, 2012, 5:17 PM ET
Associated Press

LONDON -- Liverpool's biggest sponsor criticized the club Monday for its conduct during the fractious Premier League match against Manchester United that was marred by Luis Suarez's refusal to shake hands with Patrice Evra.

The image of one of England's most successful teams took another battering on Saturday when Suarez snubbed Evra in a pre-match handshake at Old Trafford, re-igniting the racism dispute that flared up when the Uruguayan forward racially abused the French defender during a league game in October.

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish also was criticized for his angry post-match reaction in which he refused to condemn Suarez.

Standard Chartered, which signed a four-year deal in 2009 to be the sponsor on Liverpool's jerseys, signaled its discontent to Liverpool's American owners, the Boston-based Fenway Sports Group.

"We were very disappointed by Saturday's incident and have discussed our concerns with the club," the London-based financial services company said.

Standard Chartered's deal with Liverpool, which has won the English league title 18 times, is said to be worth $31.5 million a season through 2013-14.

Suarez apologized Sunday for letting down Liverpool and "what it stands for," with Dalglish and managing director Ian Ayre saying the Uruguayan had "misled" the club regarding his intention to shake the hand of Evra.

Dalglish also apologized for his impassioned comments in an interview with British broadcaster Sky Sports.

In an ill-tempered game between England's two most successful clubs, players from both teams reportedly clashed outside the dressing rooms at halftime. An emotional Evra also appeared to provoke Suarez with his exuberant post-match celebrations after United's 2-1 win.

The Football Association said Monday it is happy with how referee Phil Dowd dealt with Evra's actions after the match and doesn't regard the halftime incident as warranting action. The governing body is likely to write to both clubs to remind them of their responsibilities.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press