Court rules on Suarez’s World Cup biting ban
(CNN) — Luis Suarez will have to wait until late October to make his debut for Spanish club Barcelona after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) partially upheld the Uruguay star’s ban for biting an opponent on Thursday.
The striker was suspended from all football-related activity for four months — preventing him from even training — after he bit Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder during a World Cup group game in Brazil in late June, and banned for nine international matches.
Switzerland-based CAS heard the 27-year-old’s case last week as he appealed against the punishment imposed by soccer’s world governing body FIFA.
Suarez and his legal team had spent five hours before a three-man CAS appeal panel in Lausanne in an attempt to reduce the suspension, but the ban on playing was upheld along with a fine of $111,000.
However, CAS said he is free to take part in other football-related duties “such as training, promotional activities and administrative matters.”
“The CAS Panel found that the sanctions imposed on the player were generally proportionate to the offense committed,” the ruling stated.
“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 offense committed by the player and would still have an impact on his activity after the end of the suspension.”
Suarez’s playing ban expires on October 25, and Barcelona’s next match is the “El Clasico” grudge match with rival Real Madrid the following day.
The Chiellini incident was the third time Suarez had bitten a player — he had previously been banned for similar transgressions while playing for Dutch club Ajax and English side Liverpool.
With Suarez sidelined, Uruguay lost its last-16 match to Colombia and was knocked out of the World Cup.
Suarez eventually apologized for his actions, but lost his appeal to FIFA over the sanctions before deciding to take the matter to CAS — an independent “last resort” body that deals with sporting disputes.
FIFA’s punishment did not stop Barcelona signing Suarez from Liverpool in a $127 million deal last month which will give the club a star-studded attack when he finally lines up alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar.
Suarez was top scorer in the English Premier League last season, winning the two major player of the year awards for his outstanding performances in helping Liverpool to second place and a return to the European Champions League.
He suffered a knee injury at the end of the season which threatened his participation in the World Cup. He missed Uruguay’s first game but recovered to score two goals that ended England’s hopes of reaching the knockout stages as the South Americans on 2-1.
But in the final group game, his bite on Chiellini — captured by television cameras — provided the most notorious moment of the World Cup, overshadowing a 1-0 victory by Uruguay that eliminated Italy.