Luis Suarez ban verdict likely soon
The court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is likely to announce a verdict on the appeal by Luis Suarez against his four-month ban from football before the end of next week.
Barcelona forward Suarez arrived in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Friday morning to appeal against the sanction, which includes a nine-match international suspension.
It was imposed by FIFA, world football's governing body, after he bit Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini while playing for Uruguay in the World Cup.
Last month, FIFA rejected Suarez's appeal against his lengthy ban, prompting him to take the issue to the CAS.
ALL-TIME HIGHEST TRANSFER FEES
1) £85m Gareth Bale -- Tottenham to Real Madrid, Sept. 2013
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3) £75m Luis Suarez -- Liverpool to Barcelona, July 2014
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And on Friday, the court published a statement which said: "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."
FIFPro, the world footballers' union, said it acknowledged that a sanction was needed in the case, but said it questioned "whether the combination of sanctions that FIFA imposed on the player is an appropriate way to deal with the case."
In a statement, the organisation said: "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."
Suarez's legal team are hopeful of getting the punishment reduced, possibly by half, meaning he would be able to play for Barcelona before his ban is due to end on Oct. 26 -- the potential date of a clasico meeting with Real Madrid.
Despite the bite on Chiellini, Barcelona pushed ahead with their pursuit of the Uruguay striker, signing him from Liverpool in a 75 million pound deal.