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Jul 3, 2014

FIFA confirms Suarez free to join Barca

Liverpool have opened up talks with Barcelona over the potential move of striker Luis Suarez to the La Liga club.

FIFA's disciplinary chief has confirmed that Luis Suarez is free to join Barcelona while serving his ban for biting Giorgi Chiellini, but denied Liverpool had been punished unfairly.

Suarez, 27, has been banned for four months from all football, and nine Uruguay matches, for biting the Italian centre-back during their World Cup Group D meeting on June 24.

The Uruguayan FA has already submitted an appeal on the player's behalf, while Suarez has now apologised for his actions after initially telling FIFA he had lost his balance. His refusal to show any kind of remorse for his actions earned him a longer ban.

Liverpool remain in talks with Barcelona over the transfer of Suarez, and Claudio Sulser told a news conference that the player would be allowed to have a medical ahead of a transfer under the terms of his ban, which relates to all football-related activities including entering stadiums.

Sulser, the head of FIFA's disciplinary committee, said on Thursday: "The player cannot have any activity related to football, but a medical examination for a transfer, yes -- the sanction is not linked to transfer rights.''

Liverpool are reported to have taken advice over the ban, but Sulser insisted it is the actions of the player and the player alone which led to the punishment and FIFA had to act.

Asked why the committee imposed a ban that damaged Liverpool, he said: "That's your opinion. It's a sanction against the player. That is the risk if you are a player and you are sanctioned at the World Cup. I agree with you it's a problem for Liverpool, but the sanction is in the disciplinary regulations.''

Sulser added that the Suarez bite was "a very severe case'' but that the sanctions -- which also include a 66,000-pound fine -- were not to set an example, but for "justice''.

Sulser said: "This is still an ongoing case and an appeal has been filed, so I prefer not to give my opinion. When the committee was analysing this case, one thing I mentioned in my capacity as the chairman is we don't need to impose an exemplary sanction, we need to have justice and reached the sanction in a very severe case.''

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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