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Luis Suarez's fate hangs in the balance

Barcelona striker will find out by next week if CAS will reduce the sanctions slapped on him by FIFA for biting Giorgio Chiellini

Lausanne: 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 yesterday.

Luis Suarez
Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez (left) tries to make his way past journalists, after he pleaded his case before the CAS

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 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.

“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.”

Infringing on rights?
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.”

The crime
During a World Cup league match against Italy on June 24, Suarez bit defender Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder — his third such offence.

The punishment
FIFA imposed a four-month ban from all football-related activity, plus a nine-match international ban and a £66,000 fine on Suarez.

Hope for leniency?
Suarez’s legal team believe there is scope that the four-month ban be halved on the grounds that it infringes the player’s “fundamental rights”. Suarez’s team also want him to be able to train with the Barcelona team while he serves his suspension

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