Suarez can train but ban for biting upheld

Court decision means striker can't make his official debut for new club Barcelona until late October although he is free to play in friendlies

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 August, 2014, 12:34am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 August, 2014, 12:34am

Luis Suarez failed to win a reprieve from his four-month ban for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, but got a green light on Thursday to resume training.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said it found Suarez guilty of assault during Uruguay's group match against Italy, in what was one of the highest-profile incidents at the sporting extravaganza in Brazil.

The decision means the 27-year-old striker cannot make his official debut for his new club Barcelona until October 25, but can at least train with teammates and be involved in promotional activities. Barcelona said he would start training from Friday.

It's a cultural matter. The way we live, football in South America is different to Europe. For us there are things which are normal and which deserve sanctions, but not such a harsh one
Uruguayan football chief Wilmar Valdez

He is also barred from taking to the pitch with Uruguay for nine consecutive matches.

However, a spokesman for soccer's world governing body Fifa said he could play in friendly internationals for club and country. This could allow him to make his Barcelona debut against Mexican side Leon on Monday if selected.

"The CAS panel found that the sanctions imposed on the player were generally proportionate to the offence committed," the court said.

"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, accompanied by his lawyers and representatives of Barcelona and the Uruguayan Football Association, had last week pleaded his case in person at a closed-door session of the Swiss-based CAS, which is the final court of appeal in the sports world.

"I expected something different, although not much," said Uruguayan football chief Wilmar Valdez.

"CAS is a totally independent tribunal and this is to do with the way people see things, it's a cultural matter. The way we live, football in South America is different to Europe.

"For us there are things which are normal and which deserve sanctions, but not such harsh ones."

Suarez, who has a record of bans for biting opponents, was barred from all football-related activity for four months after biting Chiellini on the shoulder during Uruguay's final group C game on June 24 in the Brazilian city of Natal.

Suarez has already served one match of his nine-game national team ban, having missed Uruguay's 2-0 loss to Colombia in the World Cup round of 16 on June 28.

In addition to suspending Suarez, Fifa had also fined him a total of 100,000 Swiss francs (HK$856,000), and CAS kept that penalty in place.

After being sent home from Brazil, Suarez apologised. "I deeply regret what occurred. I apologise to Giorgio Chiellini and the entire football family," he said on Twitter.

Suarez subsequently left English giants Liverpool for Barcelona, after a €95 million (HK$985 million) deal with the Catalan powerhouses.

Agence France-Press, Reuters