England's soccer and legal authorities appeared to be united in their fight against racism Wednesday after the FA banned Liverpool's Luis Suarez for racial abuse and England captain John Terry was told he faced prosecution for the same offence.

Suarez, 24, was handed an eight-match ban and fined 40,000 pounds Tuesday after an independent FA commission found him guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during a Premier League game at Anfield on October 15.

The Uruguayan striker turned out for Liverpool Wednesday in their Premier League match at Wigan Athletic and was substituted three minutes before the end of the match, a 0-0 draw.

At the time he was playing, his lawyer Alejandro Balbi told a news conference in Montevideo Suarez would be appealing the decision.

He is firmly convinced that this hard sanction can be reversed, Balbi said. The appeal is total, over and above there being a monetary aspect and another with a match suspension.

Suarez can continue to play for Liverpool now the appeal has been lodged but risks an increased sanction if it fails.

Less than 24 hours after the FA's announcement of the sanction against Suarez, the Crown Prosecution Service said it had sufficient evidence to prosecute Chelsea's Terry for allegedly racially abusing Anton Ferdinand of Queens Park Rangers during a match on October 23.

Terry has vehemently denied the allegation, but the prosecution is going ahead after video footage of the incident was posted on the Internet.

He faces a maximum penalty of a 2,500 pounds ($3,900) fine, loose change to a man earning a reported 150,000 pounds a week, but the damage to his reputation would be considerable.

PROVE INNOCENCE

Chelsea issued a statement on their website (www.chelseafc.com) strongly defending Terry with manager Andre Villas-Boas adding his backing.

John has made it clear he denies the charge and is determined to do all he can to prove his innocence, he added.

Chelsea FC has always been fully supportive of John in this matter and there is no question that we will continue to be so.

The club finds all forms of discrimination abhorrent and we are proud of the work we undertake campaigning on this important issue.

Liverpool backed their player with a forceful statement on Tuesday defending Suarez and calling into question the accusation made by Evra.

The Uruguayan government and international team mates have also come out in support of Suarez.

This leaves us with a disagreeable feeling, Uruguay's National Sports Director Ernesto Irureta told the Montevideo newspaper Ultimas Noticias (www.ultimasnoticias.com.uy).

A sanction like this is absurd, out of place and absolutely exaggerated. What's more, there's the story that the other sportsman (Evra) might have called Luis a 'sudaca', he added, referring to an insulting Spanish term for South Americans.

Players, including Uruguay captain Diego Lugano, said people in Uruguay, where a large percentage of the population is black or of mixed race, were not racist and used terms such as 'negro' in an affectionate manner or as nicknames.

'RACISM PROBLEM'

I can't believe it. They're making a big mistake. It's obvious that in England there's a racism problem they're trying to eradicate, and that's good, but this sentence has no solid arguments, Lugano said.

However, Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) in England, said Suarez's punishment sent out a message that racism would not be tolerated in the English game.

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, he said.

Suarez had argued that due to cultural differences he did not realise the language he used was regarded as racist in Europe.

I understand the point about cultural differences, Taylor said. 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 the outcry in this country over (FIFA president) Sepp Blatter's remarks (on racism), it sends out an important message.

Blatter provoked controversy when he suggested during a television interview that racism on the pitch should be settled by a handshake. He later apologised for his comments.

(Editing by Alison Wildey)