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Monday 22 September 2014

Suarez to learn fate next week

Martyn Ziegler

Published 08/08/2014 | 08:01

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Barcelona have chosen not to include a 'no biting' clause in Luis Suarez's contract, despite his antics at the World Cup as well as previous offences. Photo: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Barcelona have chosen not to include a 'no biting' clause in Luis Suarez's contract, despite his antics at the World Cup as well as previous offences. Photo: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Luis Suarez must wait until next week to discover if his appeal against his four-month ban for biting an opponent has been successful after he gave a statement to the Court of Arbitration for Sport today.

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The Uruguay and Barcelona striker's lawyers travelled to the CAS headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland to state their case.

The legal team were hopeful of CAS halving the ban to two months, meaning the former Liverpool striker would be available to play from August 25, and for him to be allowed to train with Barcelona while he is suspended.

They were expected to argue that as the biting incident took place while playing for Uruguay in the World Cup then the ban should be limited to international football.

Following the hearing, CAS issued a statement which read: "The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has today heard the appeal of Luis Suarez, FC Barcelona and the Uruguayan FA against FIFA. The hearing took place at the CAS headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

"The player was present and gave a statement to the Panel of CAS arbitrators: Mr Bernhard Welten, Switzerland (President), Professor Luigi Fumagalli, Italy, and Dr Marco Balmelli, Switzerland.

"At the end of the hearing, the panel informed the parties that it will issue its decision as soon as possible, probably before the end of next week.

"The full arbitral award, with the grounds, will follow at a later date and be published by the CAS."

FIFA imposed a four-month ban from all football-related activity, plus a nine-match international ban and a £66,000 fine after Suarez bit Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during Uruguay's 1-0 win on June 24. FIFA's appeal committee later upheld the sanctions.

Suarez's lawyer and adviser Alejandro Balbi, who is also a member of the Uruguay FA's (AUF) executive, admitted there was less chance of overturning the nine-match suspension, but said there is scope for the four-month ban to be reduced on the grounds that it infringes the player's "fundamental rights".

Balbi told Uruguyan newspaper El Observador: "It would be more logical to reduce the sanction by a few months than to reduce the ban concerning international games, because legally it's easier to contend against the terms of the suspension that forbid him from training and from being at the club, because they violate fundamental rights.

"The other ban (the nine-match ban for Uruguay) is more a question of the level of the punishment."

Barcelona paid Liverpool £75million for Suarez after he received his FIFA ban, which as it stands keeps him out until October 25.

FIFPro, the world players' union, supports a reduction in Suarez's punishment at domestic and international level.

A statement on the organisation's website read: "That Luis Suarez has been trialled and vilified in public, ever since the incident, is a sanction in itself.

"On the other hand, it has been remarkable to see the response from his fellow professionals and the victim himself, Giorgio Chiellini.

"Many agree the sanctions are excessive. This is an important signal for the CAS panel to consider.

"The sanctions are a disproportionate response to the offence.

"Especially the four-month ban from all football-related activity, which is unfair for Suarez as it infringes his right to work at club level.

"In the international arena, where the offence was committed, a nine-match ban for Uruguay is also too strong as it effectively equates to a two-year sanction.

"FIFPro states the educative nature of the sanction mentioned by FIFA in the ruling can be much better achieved by making it partially conditional, including the obligation for Luis Suarez to receive treatment.

"This can be applied on the number of matches but also on the period of the ban. The FIFA appeals committee missed an opportunity to take this into account. FIFPro expects that CAS will respect these assumptions."

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