The court of arbitration for sport (Cas) has upheld Luis Suarez’s four-month ban, but have cleared him to train with his new team-mates at Barcelona.
The controversial Uruguayan international was handed the suspension by FIFA during the summer, when he was found guilty of biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup match in Brazil. This was the third time he had been punished for such an offence, having previously taken a chomp out of Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic whilst playing for Liverpool and, during his Ajax days, he bit PSV Eindhoven’s Ottmar Bakkal.
This latest ban prevented him from any football-related activity, meaning he was unable to partake in training with Barcelona following his £75million move from Anfield. He was also given a nine-match international ban and fined £66,000, and he was forced to take his case to Cas after FIFA refused to back down from their initial judgment.
And whilst Cas have today (Thursday) upheld the suspension which prevents Suarez from playing for his club and country until late October, he has been cleared to at least train with his team-mates after his lawyer and adviser, Alejandro Balbi, successfully argued that FIFA had misapplied its own rules when considering the case and the sanction it imposed on other football-related activities was disproportionate.
An official Cas statement read: “The sanctions imposed on the player by FIFA have been generally confirmed. However, the four-month suspension will apply to official matches only and no longer to other football-related activities (such as training, promotional activities and administrative matters). The CAS Panel found that the sanctions imposed on the player were generally proportionate to the offence committed. It has however considered that the stadium ban and the ban from ‘any football-related activity’ were excessive given that such measures are not appropriate to sanction the offence committed by the player and would still have an impact on his activity after the end of the suspension.”
Suarez has also been cleared to play in friendly matches for his new club, meaning he could line-up against Mexican side Club Leon.